Jennifer Ulloa

10 ways to reduce paper waste in your work life

Even if you're a (mostly) paperless office like Pawprint, there will always be paper products in need of proper disposal.
3 min Read

Are you looking for quick ways to reduce paper in your daily work life? Paper use is still a huge issue within many corporations to this day, and with 90% of companies stating that they will return to the office in some shape or form by the end of 2024, it is undeniable that there at least will be some form of paper usage when that time comes.

Did you know that paper makes up a large part of un-recycled waste for businesses? In fact, according to Kyocera, the average UK office worker uses approximately 45 pieces of paper each day

If you have come here looking for solutions on how to minimise this impact and engage workforces in doing the same, you've come to the right place.

Here are 10 ways to reduce paper waste in your daily work life: 

Think before you hit that “print” button!

We understand sometimes it can be super handy to have something to hold or pass around at a meeting, especially when there are senior stakeholders present. 

However, next time you think about printing out an agenda for everyone to hold, put a pause on that cursor and ask yourself if it is REALLY necessary. 

Try sending a virtual agenda to everyone involved before the meeting, you'll be saving loads of paper in no time.

Print double-sided where possible 

Sometimes printing is unavoidable. If you do need to print, then try doing so mindfully.

A quick way of doing this is printing double-sided to reduce paper. Additionally, always do a couple of proof reads before printing to avoid unnecessary reprints due to spelling mistakes. Your printer (and office manager) will thank you!

Office managers, post catchy reminders and slogans at print points! 

Facilitating behaviour changes is hard, especially when you are in an office of 1,000 or more employees. 

To run things at scale, consider placing reminders or banners in high traffic areas. This can be a canteen, a printing room, or public space in the office. The key here is to inspire action. 

At Pawprint, we create loads of assets and content to help make communication easier. Reach out to a team member today to get your bespoke materials to help drive change in your organisation.

Run a paperless meeting

Embrace the digital era by transitioning to electronic documents and communications whenever possible. Opt for emails, e-signatures, and digital platforms for sharing and storing documents instead of printing them out.

Reduce the font size and margins of documents that are necessary to print

Reducing font sizes and margins not only uses less ink.. It conveniently uses less space, too! 

Ops for unbleached paper products 

Unbleached paper products are inadvertently a lot stronger than the bleached versions.

Unbleached paper usually doesn’t involve any bleach (obviously), dyes, and fragrances.. And they are often already recycled. Win win win!

Organise a paper recycling drive

Sometimes getting everyone on the same page (we love a good pun) can be tricky. Furthermore, people usually want to do the right thing..they just don’t know where to start.

Organising a paper recycling drive and encouraging coworkers to take part can boost engagement and morale. 

P.S. Still unsure of what to recycle and how it should be done? Check out USA Today’s guide on recycling here. 

Try hot desking for a couple of days a week 

Remote work not only offers flexibility but also reduces the need for printed materials in the office environment.

Remote collaboration tools enable teams to work efficiently without relying on physical documents. One of our trusty favourites is Miro for a great brainstorming session!

Lean on community initiatives and charities to minimise paper use 

Spread awareness about the environmental impact of paper consumption and the benefits of paper reduction strategies. Organise workshops, webinars, or informational sessions to educate others about sustainable practices.

A great initiative to check out is Tress for Cities.

Keep recycling bins handy 

In behavioural psychology, everything we do is initiated by a trigger. 

A behavioural trigger is anything you experience that leads to you performing a certain behaviour. Knowing this can help you build new habits. Take a look at your immediate surroundings right now.

With this in mind, take a good long look at your surroundings. What are your triggers? 

By strategically placing recycling bins in your office or inside your home office, you are minimising the trigger to not recycle paper. 

If you want to take things a step further you can reduce the number of personal bins in the office. By having one location to recycle your paper, you’ll minimise the waste over time. 

Final Remarks 

All in all, it takes work to recycle paper especially if you’re starting from page 1 (I told you we love a pun around here!). But doing so can also help reduce carbon emissions.

By following the tips above you will be able to make progress in no time. 

And as always, check out our roster of over 600+ eco actions (like paper recycling) over on our Pawprint app.

Happy recycling!

Find out more

More stories