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10 Tips (plus some) for Going Paperless and Greening your Office

March 16, 2009

Many of us have already converted our calendars and address books to our computer, but there are many more opportunities for eliminating paper from your office.

If you’re interested in greening your business operations and saving some serious money in the process, read on.

10 Tips for going paperless

  1. Bank online – receive and pay your bills online and eliminate stamps, checks, envelopes.
  2. Do some pre-planning and decide ahead of time how you will file documents electronically and how you will back them up (archives, storage, etc.).  Decide on a file naming structure that you will consistently follow to make it easier for you to find things later.
  3. Purchase the full version of Adobe Acrobat so you can “print” documents to a PDF format instead of paper – then file them electronically!  You can also use PDFs as a team and make comments/edits electronically instead of in hard copy.
  4. Use an e-fax system so you can send and receive your faxes via e-mail.
  5. Create a JPG of your signature which you can use to “sign” your electronic letters (to do this, use a fine point black sharpie and sign your name slightly larger than you normally do on a white piece of paper; scan this and create a JPG or other file formats as necessary).
  6. Use electronic letterhead/stationery to create official looking correspondence that you send out via e-mail or zumbox.  Have your graphic designer set up these electronic templates for you in Microsoft Word.
  7. Use a scanner to capture any printed/paper documents and file them electronically.  Shred and recycle the printed paper.
  8. Review and edit documents on-screen whenever possible; when editing documents, make sure you save each new version as a new document so you can track changes and go back to original versions, if necessary.
  9. Use your website and the Internet as a solution for marketing your business as well as delivering documents, files, proofs, etc.  There are many free or low-cost web-based solutions that allow you to create and maintain a solid online presence.
  10. Subscribe to your favorite publications electronically. Even many daily newspapers offer a digital version you can read online (advertisements and all!)

And if you can’t go completely paperless, consider these options:

  • Set your printer to print on both sides of the paper (duplex) documents automatically.
  • Print green: Use tools like Greenprint and Eco-font to minimize the use of ink.
  • Use recycled paper – 100% recycled is best, if you can afford it. But at least 30% is better than using virgin paper.
  • Recycle your printer cartridges – you can even get money for them with some services.
  • Save up paper that has been printed on one side and send it back through again on the other side.
  • Remove yourself from junk mail lists.
  • Create all your direct mail pieces as postcards so you don’t have to use an envelope. And make sure your print vendor is using recycled paper and soy/vegetable inks.

Have any more suggestions?  Please leave them here to share with our readers!

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