Going greener isn’t just about saving the planet or hopping on the latest bandwagon, it’s also about the bottom line: save the environment and save money. Go ahead and take a seat in the board room as Chief Green Officer (CGO). Where do you go green and let your customers know you care? Where do you contribute to the problem and where can you be part of the solution? How do you do it the Right Way? You’ve added recycling bins to your office and paper recycling bins throughout the office, now what?
Look to the most egregious deforestation culprit — paper.
Paper waste is probably the biggest item in any businesses landfill and waste costs. Copiers, printers and fax machines are the fastest growing area of energy consumption. In the United States, they use enough office paper each year to build a 10-foot-high wall that’s 6,815 miles long, or two and a half times the distance from New York to Los Angeles.
What’s the big deal? Carbon dioxide, a significant greenhouse gas, is emitted into the atmosphere as a result of our intensive use of fossil fuels such as oil and coal. Many scientists, governments and businesses believe that global warming is a crisis. It may indeed turn out to have, as has been suggested, a higher economic cost than both World Wars and the Great Depression combined. In simplistic terms this is ‘not good.’ In financial terms, these paper-intensive practices are not only anti-green; they can leave your P&L in the red.
How much money can your business save by reducing its reliance on paper? If a biz with 30,000 employees sends and receives an average of two pages per day, they can save $2 million or more per year which reduces the need for paper.
How do you get started?
Think before you print
A midsized company with 1,000 employees and $100 million in revenue will produce 30 million pages of paper a year which equates to cutting down 1,369 trees and producing approximately 300,000 pounds of CO2 every year.
Large companies can use an estimated 400 billion pages of printer paper a year; that’s 18,253,333 trees converted to paper generating four billion pounds of carbon every year for a single company on a single item—paper. Ouch!
To make up for the loss of trees in the past decade, we would need to plant 500,000 square miles of trees—an area as large as Peru. On the average we use two times more paper today than we did in 1980. That may be because the amount of information we have access to just keeps growing. For example, an estimated 97 billion emails whisk through cyberspace every day and with them, the temptation to print everything we need to read increases.
Of course there are the debates around the carbon foot print of an email, online books etc. However, the more we excel with technology the harder it is to work out if doing one thing is in fact going to have a lesser impact on the planet than doing another.
So the simple approach is to try and use less stuff and use common sense…print less, turn lights off, take your white goods off standby, have a quicker shower, what ever it is, you can do these things today! They don’t cost anything and may seem like small changes with little or no impact. However if we all printed one less piece of paper a day for example it would combined make a big difference….