I have not printed anything since February 18th. I also have substantially reduced the amount of paper I use. I am doing this because I really do not see a need to use all that much paper. It wasn't that big of an adjustment either which I think make it a lot easier and has made me more successful.
So how am I doing it?
I take my computer to almost all my meetings where I need to share something with my colleagues. Whether it is a spreadsheet, word document or presentation I just bring it up on my computer and show it to them. If we aren't in a meeting room I just show them on my laptop screen or I will email it to them and then we review it at their desk.
I take notes on my BlackBerry. Oh how I love the Note feature. I can access it from my BlackBerry or from my laptop. I keep them organized by person or project and add in notes from meetings. I also use it for my to-do list and for things I want to talk to people about. Basically Notes has become my virtual Post It. I keep my grocery list, blog topic ideas, directions, my weekly 2011 in 2011 list in there. I used to have a notebook that I kept notes in and even though I originally focused on no printing I found it easy to drop using notebooks too.
I don't take handouts at meetings and I ask for it to be sent electronically instead. Yes this means that there is probably extra copies floating around but over time people have learned to not print a copy for me.
Whenever possible I ask for a receipt to not be printed prior to them asking me if I want my receipt. Because if you say no when they ask you this it doesn't really change your impact. They have already printed it and are just going to throw it away. If I don't have the option for it not to print then I take it home with me and shredded it and put it out with our recycling. EDIT - BPA can be found in some receipts so reduce your exposure as much as possible. Check out this post by Steph from Good Girl Gone Green for more information.
When traveling instead of printing documents I have them easily accessible on my BlackBerry and bring them up for the hotel as required. Sometimes you just have to ask if they will accept this instead of printing tickets, verification etc. You will be surprised how many people say yes!
I bank electronically and always ask if e-transfers are accepted instead of having to write a cheque. I also have signed up for epost and get my pay cheque, T4 and all but 2 bills electronically. When given the option I sign up for electronic newsletters vs a paper newsletter being sent to the house.
I don't do invites. I know this makes me seems like I'm not a cool/fun/whatever Mom but I am okay with that. I don't send paper invites for B's birthday. Instead I make and send an electronic invite. Oh you should see what I have in store for next year (yes I have thought about it already and no I won't forget about it by then - I have a Note about it!).
I don't use paper towels (at home). I made my own reusable towels for cleaning and then use newspaper for windows. I said (at home) because I find that 50% of the time I use paper towel in the washroom at work. I am not sure why when there is a hand dryer right there. I think I feel better about it because it is made from recycled content but I really need to start using the hand dryer more.
I'm really good at Paint. If someone asks me to drawn something to explain it I can simply just use my awesome Paint skillz and draw it electronically. No seriously.
Has any of this had an impact? Yes I believe it has. Not only am I reducing my impact but I have noticed others following suit. People come to meetings with me with electronic documents far more often than printed paper. Joe also uses the Notes feature on his BlackBerry so we can share lists (groceries, to do).
How much paper do you use? Have you thought about cutting back, if so what can you or do you do?
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