Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Change the World Wednesday - Paper

The latest Change the World Wednesday focused on Paper. I'm rather behind in getting my post out, considering a new challenge will be released tomorrow.  However, I couldn't let this one slip past me.

I don't believe I print too much. Most of what I print for personal use are maps (no gps unit in the car yet and we don't pay for internet access on my cell phone) and coupons.  I only print the coupons I plan to use though, in order to limit the paper being used and the ink being used too.   I also try to re-use paper when I can't.  Last year I studied for an A+ certification and printed out a lot of practice questions and study guidelines.  After I passed both tests and received my certification I no longer needed the things I printed out so I used them at home.  I passed my last test in July 2009.  I just finished using up all that paper last month, Sept 2010.  It lasted me a little over a year!  Now I'm using paper that is blank on both sides, but I can promise that when I'm able to, I'll be re-using that paper and printing on the opposite side.

As you might know, I do scrapbook and make my own cards. Obviously we know this means I'm using paper and have tons of scraps.  I keep two trash bags near my craft table. One is for non-recyclable materials.  The other is a paper bag use for paper scraps.  If I go somewhere and scrapbook, I tend to take home all my scraps so I can recycle those too.  It's unbelievable how much paper is not recycled when it comes to scrapbooking. Yet another thing that almost gives me a heart- attack when I see it. haha
Maybe that's the next place we need to focus on, getting people who scrapbook and work with paper crafts to recycle recycle recycle.

My work is another issue. I admit that I don't print out too much now, but I used to.  One of the daily routines requires me to print out 6 pieces of paper.  Up until earlier this summer, that number was between 9-12.  Instead of making copies of one of the items, I scan it and keep a copy of it on a server.  Instead of printing out some reports, I save those as pdf's and save on the server now.  While 3-6 pieces doesn't seem like a lot, it adds up.  That 3-6 in one day would be 780-1560 per year!  Now that's a lot of paper.  While I've made the effort to limit paper use, my co-worker hasn't.  We switch off which daily routines we do monthly, so for one month the paper usage is low, the next it's not.  While my co-worker does save the same items on the server, she prints them and then scans them. I have no idea why, other than the fact that she isn't the sharpest tool in the shed (and that's the nicest thing I have to say..so I'll say no more).

Another thing at work is that I re-use paper when possibly, just like at home.  If I  have to print something off, then don't need it again, as long as sensitive info isn't on it that would require it to be shredded, I use it for scrap paper.   Several months ago we had trouble with a printer, and a company came out to fix it.  The issue was with jamming.  They thought they fixed it and to test it, they printed off an entire ream of paper!  Then they put it in the recycle bin. I almost had a heart attack!  I asked where the paper went and they showed me, so I took it out of the bin and it's now at my desk where I use it for scrap paper.  I have a ton of scrap paper, especially since they did this twice.

I'll also note that at work and at home, once I'm finished with a piece of paper, it goes into the recycle bin.  At work I have no idea what happens to it.  However at home I take it to a local school and put it in their recycle bins since they get money when the bins are filled up.

So there you have it, those are the things I do.  I'm not sure I do anything different than you do, but at least I do something.

Oh..and since part of the challenge was to change margins to narrow when printing..I'm happy to report in that it's something that I already do most of the time.


  1. I'm also a greenie but I've never thought to recycle my scraps. Seriously how could I have missed this? Thanks for pointing it out.

  2. Amber...I'm so glad I could provide a tip!

  3. Wonderful post. I really like the idea of having bags next to a work station for easy recycling. And doing so seems that it would make us really think about each item rather than just tossing it out.

    Thanks for sharing your great ideas!

  4. Small Footprints - Thanks! It really does help having the trashbags near my worktable.