No matter how advanced our technology has become, we can't avoid the fact that some, if not most of us, still need paper at our offices. For example, in some legal departments, hard copies are still considered more legitimate than soft copies, so getting rid of physical sheets is simply a no-go even though their digital infrastructures are already robust.
Is it bad for the planet, though?
Well, it’s true that paper is sustainable and biodegradable, but you still won’t help the environment if you just use and throw it away as you like. Fortunately though, paper is something that we're already used to recycling. Even the industry, including us here at APP, uses recycled fibers to produce some of our products. For each ton of paper recycled, we all can save around 3 cubic meters (3.3 yards) of landfills, 7,000 gallons of water, and 4,000 kilowatts of energy. Wow, indeed.
So, if it's that beneficial to recycle, why not practice it at the office? We’re happy to tell you that the fact of the matter is people do recycle their office paper. And perhaps, your office has some kinds of such initiatives too. But if not, or if you want to improve your office’s program, we're here to share some tips on recycling office paper to help you!
The first thing to do before we even start on recycling, though, is to get everybody at the office on the same page about how to use paper wisely. Remember, there's always ‘reduce’ and ‘reuse’ before ‘recycle’. So, maybe think about doing a little educational campaign about it before getting down with the desired changes.
Continue with how important it is to recycle and get everybody to commit. You can't just put recycling bins at some corners of your office and expect your colleagues to use it. With this little campaign, though, hopefully people will come to their senses and some would even voluntarily join your cause. You can then create a committee and pick a person (or volunteer yourself) to be in charge of the recycling project to make sure the system works.
And to make things easier, (we mean, you have your main 9 to 5 job already, right?) also create a division of labor. For example, pick some people to make sure that everybody uses your recycling bins properly and others to collect all the paper after office. Every group can take turns after a certain period, so they don't get bored with their assigned duties or feel unfairly treated.
And about that educational campaign that we talked about earlier, don't just scrap it after getting everybody to commit. We bet that not everybody at your office is sure about the best practices of paper recycling. For example, not all programs accept shredded papers because they contain shorter fibers, and you can't assume that everybody already knows that. Be sure to do some research yourself and share your knowledge with everyone. But for starters, we will gladly share some essentials:
Work closely with your recycling services provider to know what kinds of paper is acceptable.
Pick a certified provider to make sure that the content of your used paper remains confidential.
Put recycling bins in strategic locations like near the copier machines.
Separate plain white papers from color copies, letterhead, corrugated cardboard boxes, old newspapers, magazines, and catalogs.
Remove contaminants like plastic, food waste, metal, and glass.
Oh, about that team that you assemble, don't forget to offer them some rewards for doing this with you. It's great if you have some people who also care enough to volunteer, but it's great to have some motivational boosts for others to join the movement. If you're not in a place to offer such incentives, be sure to get your higher-ups to support your initiative.
It's even better if you can offer the rewards for more people, like the department which recycles the most paper, for example. That way, everyone will have one more reason to support recycling. Wink!
If you’re interested in more tips like this don’t forget to stay tuned to APP Stories and follow our social media account on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Taking care of your office waste is not something that you can do on your own. So get as many people as possible on your bandwagon, and work together for the better future!