Happy belated America Recycles Day! In the rush to prepare for Thanksgiving and shop on Black Friday, you may have missed the one-day celebration of all things recycling, which was held on November 15.
According to the official America Recycles Day website, this national initiative to keep America beautiful encourages anyone to learn more about how they can reduce the amount of waste they produce individually. Site visitors can take the recycling pledge, organize or attend a local event (2164 this year alone!) or find a recycling center near them.
The site also promotes the fact that the national recycling rate has increased over the past 30 years to its current high of 34%. All of this is good news, but when you consider some recent statistics related to paper consumption in the office, it should be even easier to reduce waste.
According to recent research from The Paperless Project, paper consumption is getting worse, not better. Consider the evidence:
- The average office worker uses a 10,000 sheets of copy paper every year.
- 45% of the paper printed in offices ends up trashed by the end of the day, affecting over a trillion sheets of paper per year worldwide.
- In the U.S. alone, companies spend more than $120 billion a year on printed forms, most of which become outdated within three months’ time.
- Paper consumption in the average business grows by 22% a year, which means paper use will double in 3.3 years.
One thing is clear: Despite so many efforts to focus on green initiatives and implement a paperless office, paper isn’t going away anytime soon.
There is a way: Document management solutions
Fortunately there are technological solutions we can implement to help reduce our reliance on printing: document management solutions such as print management, capture software solutions and even mobile print applications. Here, we’ll take a closer look at each of them.
- Print management solutions help companies save money related to printing, which includes a focus on reducing non-essential printing and print waste.
Additionally, many print management solutions offer secure printing functionality, such as Follow-You Printing, that only prints a document when users authenticate themselves at the printer. This functionality helps eliminate accidental, unclaimed printing and encourages responsible behavior – all to reduce excessive printing and waste.
- Paper and electronic capture software solutions manage processes related to capturing and delivering paper documents into business applications. Paper documents can be scanned into digital workflows using existing MFPs, which helps minimize the amount of documents in the workplace.
For example, the Children’s Hospital of Boston recently reduced its printing to the point where it expects to save $2M per year on document storage costs alone.
- Mobile applications let employees capture documents and send them directly to business processes, continuing to reduce their reliance on paper. Business information is captured right where it happens, which helps improve employee productivity while saving time and costs.
Where do we go from here?
As much as the paper-consumption statistics cited above seem alarming, organizations can use print management, capture and mobile technology to print more responsibly. And who knows? If enough do, maybe we’ll have even better news next America Recycles Day.