How To Make Your Office Paperless And Do Your Bit For Global Warming

Creating the "paperless" officeGuest Post by Lloyd Burrell

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed when you’ve opened your office door, inundated with unsolicited junk mail, such as catalogs and other papers? Have you ever spent an inordinate amount of time looking for a receipt or a bill but been unable to find it because of the mountain of papers stacked everywhere? Have you ever felt guilty about living with all this paper when you know that our forests are disappearing because of it? –

Lets face it what’s the point in having some swishy Dmi office furniture if you can’t see it for the paper. No need to feel guilty anymore because there are several concrete things you can do to successfully address all of these issues!

As a first step why not scan these (the receipts that is), and then dump the ones you don’t absolutely need? Always backup documents on your computer by copying them to a flash drive or such every few days. Power surges every now and then can come from several areas and you don’t want to, literally, get wiped out.

There are a lot more ways to become paperless and clutter-free. Of course, we all need to print off documents and send them on their way, or even make a nice birthday card for someone, but a lot of both printing, and receiving of paper, is redundant. Let’s reduce it even more by using a few helpful tips. These are culled from years of experience in an office and often first started because of desperation at how much paper costs have risen, and how much there is of it to get rid of!

  1. One less piece of plastic or paper or tin can that doesn’t enter the landfill, then there’s one less stain on Mother Nature. When you get those dozens of catalogs in (and don’t they seem to increase at holiday time?), simply cut off your address label and recycle. Force yourself to not throw it into the trash. Have your small children stand guard at the garbage can, arms crossed and scowling at you. Order online and try and get them to stop sending you all of those useless catalogs. Unless you like them, that is.
  2. Segregate your receipts. An accordion file is good for this, and a shredder for the unwanted ones. Scan all that you can and if you simply must keep some for taxes, then file away in used cardboard boxes in your cellar or attic. A lot of stores and companies will accept a copy of a scanned receipt in case you want to return something. When you’re at a checkout station in a store, ask them not to give you a receipt. There’s less temptation to stuff it in a desk drawer when you get home.
  3. One can have shredded wheat and shredded paper, and both are good for you. Shredded paper works on several levels. It takes up less space in a recycle bin, and you can reuse it for packing material. Better shredded paper than those airy-fairy foam peanuts. They make your skin itch, anyway. Shred credit card offers right away that come in the mail, as well as those blank checks. Anyone can come by and rummage through your garbage or recycle bins while they’re on the curb. Identity theft is a common crime in this day and age.
  4. Get on everyone’s “do not mail and do not call” list. You can usually do this online and the rules about it vary from country to country. Opt out of everything you can. This reduces junk mail and telemarketing calls. Buy from online catalogs as they are paperless and easy to use and purchase from, as well.
  5. Get your statements and bills and pay those bills, online. Get money via electronic means, such as direct deposit of checks, and services like Paypal. This makes for less paper that you have to recycle, and saves you time and energy, as well as possible delays in mail delivery.
  6. Treat paper like they used to do when it was first invented. Talk about recycling — paper was so valued that every last scrap and corner of that papyrus/sheepskin/parchment/rag content paper or paper-like substance, was used over and over again. Think of paper as valuable as it used to be. Recycle and reuse it when you can. Be frugal with new paper.

If we can’t be great recyclers and take care of our planet like we should, we’ll simply have to go back to chiseling rocks and studying up on cuneiform writing once again. And for a people who are used to spellcheck and computers and the many other fine inventions of our 21st century and more, that’s a real step back in time. Keep reduce, recycle and reuse in the front of your mind always. And, especially in your as-much-as-you-can paperless office.


Lloyd Burrell, formerly an auditor in the City of London, now puts all his desk experience to work giving advice to those setting up offices, both home and corporate. Home corner computer desks, U-shaped computer desks, computer desks with a hutch, and Sauder desks are just some of the models Lloyd has reviewed. Born and raised in the UK, Lloyd now lives on the West Coast of France with his wife Emmanuelle and two children.

Thomas Schueneman
Thomas Schueneman
Tom is the founder and managing editor of and the PlanetWatch Group. His work appears in Triple Pundit, Slate, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, Earth911, and several other sustainability-focused publications. Tom is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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