Green Space: Becoming paper-free (or close to it)

One unintended boon I discovered about working from home is how much less I print from my computer. A lot of that is because I use a laptop, and it's kind of a pain to connect to my (non-bluetooth) printer just to have it spit out a coupla pages.

But it got me thinking about how often hitting print or running a few extra copies has become nothing but a habit for many people, whether at home or the office. My challenge to you then, is to think before that itchy finger hits "print." It is likely that whatever it is can stay on the screen.  Let me suggest the following.

Email meeting agendas and minutes around before meetings. Many people use laptops to take notes at meetings, so they won't need a printed copy. I sit on a board of directors that does this and we are told to bring our own if we want hard copies. Most don't.

Have GreenPrint installed on computers at your home and business. The simple yet brilliant concept at work here is that the software virtually prints your documents before actually printing them, seeking out blank pages and other paper-wasters like dangling single lines. It tracks the amount of money and paper you save. Also, it never hurts to print double-sided whenever possible.

Read on-line newspapers and magazines. (Like metromode, of course!) While I would be the last to criticize someone wanting to hold the Sunday Times in their hands, rethink your subscriptions and see if you can read some of those publications on-line. Obviously, you should always recycle your magazines and papers too. Often, schools, health care facilities and homeless centers will gratefully take them off your hands. Another idea: share subscriptions with a neighbor or friend with similar reading habits. Most mags only bear one read, right?

Sign up for a 'mode favorite: try local do-good entrepreneurs 41pounds.org. The brothers behind the concept promise to get you off most junk mail lists -- removing an estimated 41 pounds of paper from your life each year for the sum of $41.

Read more about 41pounds.org in an earlier 'mode article here.

Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


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