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10 Ways to Save Paper

Paper
Image Credit: Davide Guglielmo

So many of us use electronic devices these days that the amount of paper we use has decreased massively - some people hardly write anything down any more!

But there is still plenty of printed matter around, from leaflets pushed through your door to free newspapers distributed at railway stations.

So how can you make sure that you don't waste any paper?

  1. Use Both Sides of Every Piece of Paper.  Does your printer do double sided printing? Even some of the most affordable home printers can now print on both sides of the pape, so investigate out how to do that for your printers at home and work, as well as photocopiers.

    If you have a piece of paper that is printed on one side only, you can use the back as rough paper - I keep mine for shopping lists and for scribbling to-do lists -before you finally put it in the recycling box.
  2. Tame The Memo Monster. Schools and offices are some of the worst offenders for sending out sheaves of A4 sized single sided letters, handouts and memos with only a couple of lines of text.

    Could you send out email and text notifications where possible? Could that document be sent out as a PDF? If you must send a hard copy, could you send out that memo on a smaller piece of paper such as A5?  Could you include several topics in one letter?
  3. Stop Junk Mail by contacting the Mailing Preference Service  and asking to have your name removed from mailing lists. This will reduce it a bit. Also try sending mail back marked 'Moved Away Please Return To Sender’ - most places will get the message eventually!

    You can also try and stop that annoying junk mail that the postman often puts through your door. Visit the Royal Mail website for details on how to do this.
  4. Always Tick the Box to say that you do not want to be sent marketing material whenever you apply for anything by post or online.
  5. Do You Reuse Wrapping Paper? Even if you only feel comfortable wrapping gifts in used paper for close family and friends that will still save paper and money.

    Or how about using the paper that is now often used to fill space in parcels? You could decorated it yourself, or keep the kids busy in the run up to Christmas adding festive decor!
  6. Stop unwanted free newspapers and leaflets. You could phone the companies concerned, but I find that a small polite sign on your door asking that no circulars or free newspapers are delivered will usually be more effective.
  7. E-mail or Telephone rather than send a letter, and receive documents, newsletters and statements electronically if given the choice.
    Choose the option to pay your bills by Direct Debit and ask to receive paper Bank Statements less frequently.
  8. Old Magazines will always be accepted gratefully by many organisations (and by maybe your friends!). Donate them to hospitals, GP surgeries, dentists, libraries or anywhere with a waiting room.
  9. Buy Books Secondhand from a charity shop, jumble sale or secondhand bookshop, download e-books or borrow books and magazines from your local library.
  10. Remember that people used to use newspaper as toilet paper!

10 Ways to Save Paper

About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of Reduce Reuse Recycle.

Updated 1st Jan 2017

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