In the UK, 78% of paper is retrieved and recycled domestically while consumption has seen a significant downturn in the age of digital communication. Approximately 13.2 million tonnes of paper and board materials were used in the UK in 2008. Almost 9 million tonnes of paper was salvaged from the waste stream. Recycling paper promotes sustainability with more eco-friendly solutions than allowing it to decompose in landfills.
Although technology has out-crowded paper in commerce, this revolution has only produced a muted impact on overall consumption. Major concerns regarding climate change now provide an impetus for UK offices to substitute paper-based media and reduce their environmental footprint.
Paper Waste Statistics for UK Offices
Below, we’ve compiled eye-opening statistics that should influence any company to save money, resources and enhance efficiencies:
- One office employee consumes 10,000 sheets of paper every year. Approximately, 500 sheets per ream or 4 boxes of sheets valued £10 per box.
- More than three-quarters of the 10,000 sheets end in the waste stream.
- High wastage comes from unnecessary printed emails, ignoring the duplex feature, churning duplications, and unattended printer.
- Consumption of paper globally has increased exponentially since 1980.
- Everyone in the UK gobbles up an average of 4.48 trees per year.
- 40% of the UK population still use paper-based communication with most electronic formats complementing instead of substituting hard copies
- The recovered paper offers a cost advantage against virgin fiber. WRAP research into the environmental benefits of recycling demonstrated that 8.8 million tonnes of paper retrieved in 2008 prevented 11 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions.
- 76% of participants in a survey under the aegis of Loudhouse reported printing non-office documents every day.
- The United States alone with less than 5 percent of the global population uses 30 percent of the planet’s paper.
- More than 40% of forest pulp ends up in the synthesis of paper and board.
- Printing and writing paper eats up one-half of the US market.
- The costs of accessing paper in work environments can rise 13 to 31 times the purchase price.
- According to the information obtained from AmazingMoves.co.uk, a reliable office removal company from London, paper and related equipment have been in the decline. Workers from this company reported they encounter less paper and equipment like printers when they move businesses to different locations. Compared to the late ’90s and early 2000s business reduced their use of paper and printers a lot.
- A survey by AIIM in 2010 found 62% of essential paper documents still exist as paper. Even documents dispatched for archive scanning, 25% ends up as photocopies. And below 1/3 of the originals are deliberately shattered after scanning.
- The American Forest & Paper Association reported that the aggregate paper recovered for reuse averaged £334 for each US citizen in 2010.
Paperless Office: Long-Term & Sustainable Environmental Solutions
Environmentalists and lobbyists have been in the frontline of transforming corporations into paperless offices. The 2013 Paperless Campaign that featured tech giants like Google Drive provided incentives like free or discounted packages for businesses that ditch paper.
Printers or photocopiers not only guzzle energy but also deplete a precious natural resource-paper. The environmental implications of attaining a paperless office have egged on corporations to discard paper. With more technologies coming down the pikes, the broad array of scanners and document management tools continue to increase the potential of paperless offices.
A paperless office makes the planet greener by preserving the environment. A shrinking paper market means fewer trees end up in the mills. With document scanning paired with other tools, you introduce sustainable solutions and improve efficiency. A work environment which consumes minimal physical paper in favor of primary digital documents reduces your company’s carbon footprint.
Non-Ecological Benefits of a Paper-Free Office
Cutting down on paper will streamline operations, reduce expenditure, and declutter workspaces. The benefits of a paperless entity go beyond ecological implications. Below are some reasons why you should jump on the paperless bandwagon.
Reduce the Influx of Paperwork
Sifting through a mass of papers takes more effort and time. Additionally, you have to shred, discard or file. You can ditch paper copies like bank statements, bills, reports and invoices to access them via email or an online account. Reducing paper copies also adds another layer of security. You won’t fall prey to forgeries, document loss or unauthorized access.
Declutter your Business
A paper-based company accumulates clutter that fuels confusion and disarray with files strewn across different locations. Digital files eat up less space than having cabinets mounted on office walls. It comes in handy as more and more modern firms put a premium on space.
Accessibility & Retrievability
Going digital means you have troves of data at your fingertips with a paperless filing system. This enhances efficiency across all departments. Automatic filing eliminates human error and other downsides of manual paperwork. With a cloud-powered filing system, you can retrieve data across different devices. You can use online accounting tools to update your inventory in a jiffy.
The flow of Knowledge Among Employees
Cross-pollination of ideas among your employees is instrumental to growth and success. However, paper-based information makes the task difficult. Digital collaboration tools not only reduce paper in the work environment, but they promote the efficient flow of knowledge. This knits workers together, encourages innovation and prevents knowledge hoarding. Online tools allow workers to share files with an efficient system. Workers can interact via the cloud without waiting for paper files.
Fast Payment Mechanisms
When you introduce online payment mechanisms, you won’t limit yourself to banking hours. You have 24/7 access to your funds, account statements and expenses. You won’t need paper invoices, which saves money on paper copies, postage or envelopes. You also expedite payment. Keep in mind this may not work for all customers. You have to designate physical invoices for these customers.
Streamline Regulatory Compliance
Taxes, licenses, and regulatory approvals become easier if you adopt digital communication. For instance, in the US, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) streamlines tax paying obligations. If you apply for Employer Identification Number online, the IRS immediately responds with your EIN. But when you fill out physical forms and send by mail or fax, it may take days or even weeks to get your EIN.