One of the goals on information technology was the paperless office. The reality is quite different and users are often careless and wasteful in the use of paper. The cost factor will be considered in the next section. From an environmental perspective, waste of paper is very damaging. Here are some things that you can do to reduce the environmental impact.
- Do not throw paper away. Set up a storage area for paper that cannot be re-used. Have this collected on a regular basis for recycling.
- Print on both sides of the paper. Unless you are producing a document in final form, print on the reverse side of used paper.
- Alternatively, look for organisations that can make use of this paper. Many poor schools would be very glad to get supplies of paper that can still be used on one side.
Often users throw used toner and ink cartridges away. There are two alternatives. You can have them refilled. If this is not an option because of guarantee restrictions on printers, you could resell them to companies which refurbish cartridges for resale. In either case, you reduce the waste output from your organisation.
Another area where users are often careless is electrical power consumption. For example, many users switch only their monitors off at the end of the day so they do not have to boot up in the morning. Apart from the security risk, this means that the computer is running all night and wasting electrical power. Switch off any equipment that does not need to be on.
When purchasing equipment, low power options could be selected. An example, would be the purchase of flat LCD screens over conventional monitors as these consume less power.
It is also possible to configure the computer to save power. When a component, such as the monitor, has not been used for a while, the computer shuts it down.
Using networks and email, there is little need to send printed documents. Rather send them in electronic format. In addition to avoiding printing, it is faster and more efficient.
Avoid printing documents even for you own use unless it is necessary. It is quite possible to do much of your reading on-screen. Set the zoom and font size to facilitate on-screen reading.