5 Easy Ways To Use Less Paper At The Office & Reduce Costs Fast

If you’re like most businesses, paper is wasted every single day. In fact, the average office employee uses 10,000 of paper annually! Perhaps even more staggering—it’s estimated that 45% of all paper printed gets thrown out the day they’re created. That’s bad for the environment and your bottom line.

Thankfully, your business wants to instill more eco-friendly practices into the office. It can be an intimidating task, but we promise it’s easier than you think. Focusing on paper reduction is also a perfect place to start. 

Check out our 5 Easy ways to use less paper at the work:

1. Double-sided Print

Paper can be like real estate. To make the most out of it, we have to be sure to utilize every inch of purchased space. We’ll start off with one of the easiest to implement and most productive methods to cut down on paper usage—double-sided, or duplexed, printing.

There are a couple of ways to encourage employees to print double-sided:

End-user Awareness
Make sure that your team knows about the advantage of double-sided print by sending out an email regarding the benefits and instructions on how to do it correctly. You can also start a company-wide Going Green initiative by placing informational signs around the office, especially in areas near the print device.

Creating an environment that passively encourages transition, effective implementation, and acceptance from all team members is more likely to occur with less resistance.

Make Double-Sided Print Default
Once everyone understands the perks of printing double-sided and has had time to adjust, the next step is for the IT team to switch the printer’s existing default properties from single-sided print to duplex. Now, all print jobs will automatically be double-sided.

If a team member wants to print single-sided, no worries. The end-user can easily switch their print setting for that job and temporarily print single-sided whenever the need arises.


2. Print Release

Imagine the number of pages printed daily that are picked up or printed accidentally. Print release is a fantastic method of reducing office paper waste just like this.

With print release, any job sent to the printer is stored on the device or Cloud storage until it’s released by the end-user at the printer itself using a PIN code or card swipe. So, for a page to physically print, the end-user must be present at the device.

This eliminates accidental prints as “sent” prints can still be deleted or canceled at the device before any paper is used. It also ensures that a person will actually be there to confirm the printout and pick it up. No more excess printed paper lying around at the printer! Check out two amazing types of Print release:

Secure Print
By far, the easiest method to implement print release is via secure print. Almost all PC Operating systems can establish print release, and most enterprise printers can handle it. However, the number of jobs that can be stored is dependent on the printer’s memory. Just like a file on your computer, if you send a document to the printer, it’ll take up space.

The fastest and surefire way to find your storage size is in “Printer Settings” within the PC/Server. On Windows machines, you can modify the print settings via the “Printers and Scanners” system settings. It can often be found under “Printing Preferences” and is likely referred to as “Stored Job” or “Personal Job.” The size of storage can also be found on any printer model specifications sheet.

Cloud Print
The second print release is via Cloud-based printing. Like secure print, it requires end-user interaction to release the print job at the device. But instead of print jobs being stored locally, it’s now stored on a Cloud service. 

Cloud print software, like PrinterLogic, is wonderful for devices with lower memory. This functionality allows for a job to be retrieved from the Cloud using any compatible print device.

There is also the ability to offload storage of print jobs to a dedicated area. If a printer went down, no worries! Just find another device to retrieve it from and release the print job there.

Unfortunately, Cloud print features are only available for select devices. If you’re interested, check with your printer manufacturer, managed print service, or Cloud print software vendor to see whether or not it’s compatible.

3. PaperCut

Many software solutions for paper reduction exist. All have one primary goal: managing and understanding how print works within an organization to help the office save time and money.

Perhaps the best print solution program, especially for reducing office paper waste, is PaperCut. Initially developed as part of a Go Green initiative company, this robust software can be used in multiple ways.

Reporting and Analytics
PaperCut can provide organizations with in-depth daily or monthly reporting on their paper use trends. This includes a cost representation and the financial impact of their current paper use. With these reports, you’ll gain valuable insights which can lead to changes in company-wide, or even individual, print behaviors.

Users can readily report information acquired through the user-friendly Papercut dashboard. Charts, data, and comparisons are easily accessible. The comparisons are beneficial as viewers can see organizational averages within the company.

With PaperCut’s Rules feature, you can control duplex printing as well as encourage (or even require) other eco-friendly habits.

For example, set up a rule where users MUST print jobs over 20 pages double-sided. Or program PaperCut to send a popup message to ask the user if they really need to print every page of that email. The popup can even tell users how much the company will save by making the greener choice.

In PaperCut, admins can implement quotas to help control print and establish new behaviors. By implementing quotas, each employee is allowed to print a certain amount with a specified timeframe. Once they hit that number, they’re no longer allowed to print unless the admin adjusts their quota.

As quotas force users to take accountability for their print use, they’re fantastic for keeping an eye on personal, and potentially excessive, paper use.

Secure Print
PaperCut also has a great secure print feature as one extra way to keep unnecessary office paper waste down.

All this tracking, auditing, and modification to print jobs empower everyone within the organization with the tools needed to cut paper printing down.

4. Microsoft Print to PDF/Adobe Acrobat

Here’s an easy and innovative out-of-the-box thought process. Instead of physically printing out every page, consider converting more files to PDF. This allows for easier transmission and viewing across an organization.

It also eliminates unneeded paper waste by cutting out the printing process entirely. Oh, and it doesn’t cost anything!

Essentially, begin the printing process the same way you always do. Then, when you get to the “Print” screen where it asks you to select a printer, instead select the Microsoft Print to PDF option. Then click “Print.” This will convert the printed file to the desired file format.

Now, you have a file that’s easy to deliver to anyone instantly—without using a single sheet of paper.

This easy AND cost-free method is just one smart, paper-saving solution that’s catching on fast. It’s a reminder to be on the lookout for new ideas! You never know where you’ll find a new way to save big on paper costs.

5. Work With a Managed Print Service

Print management services (like us!) specialize in this area of expertise. They can quickly implement the many tools, software, or other features within the print environment that encourage or enforce these double-sided print policy changes.

Some tools include onscreen messaging at print devices, enabling double-sided printing as the default, and options to track by end-users to determine who might be printing more paper than necessary.

Launch the strongest paper reduction strategy possible. Partner with the workplace environment experts at imageOne! Schedule a free, no-obligation phone consultation today and learn how we can help your business save time and money on print FAST!

If you’re like most businesses, paper is wasted every single day. Connect with me on Twitter and LinkedIn and keep up with my company imageOne. Check out my website or some of my other work here.