Sure, we can talk about using renewable energy all day, but how does that translate when you run a paper-based business? As someone who worked in the legal field for over 40 years, I hear you! We printed out and carried around more paper than you would believe. And then we’d put the paper into thick paper folders, which we’d cram with even more paper. Sometimes people would signa paper, and then we’d fax the paper to someone else who would print the paper and sign the paper before faxing it back. Then we’d print the paper again!
So how do you break the paper cycle? What’s the alternative and how much will it cost or save your company? It all depends on how drastic of a step you want to take and how fast you want to take it.
In this blog post, I’ll be providing some options. As always, remember that each step that you take makes an impact. You don’t have to do everything, all at once, especially if that’s going to cripple your business. I want you to succeed! I want to help! And I believe that if you choose the solution that is right for you, it can make your business stronger than ever.
Here are four areas where you can consider making changes within your business:
1. Paper sourcing
Consider where your paper is coming from. This isn’t as simple as whether or not it’s made from recycled materials. How is it processed and transported. What kinds of harmful products and processes are used to create your paper? Further, how is your paper transported? What kind of fuel is used? Is it local or is it imported?
2. Ink sourcing
In addition to your paper, consider your ink. Most ink is petroleum based. That’s right. Our dependence on oil extends beyond fueling our automobiles. It’s in our ink! The alternative to petroleum-based inks is vegetable-based inks. Veggie inks are more sustainable and are safer for people and for the environment. They make recycling easier, too!
If you’re reading this blog, then your company probably already recycles waste paper—or at least you try to get your employees to recycle waste paper. I believe that it’s our responsibility as residents of this planet to minimize the use of disposable commodities and to recycle everything that we possibly can. Not everyone feels this way, but they’ll be more inclined to recycle if it’s made easier for them. At your business, put your recycling bins in useful locations (near copy machines and printers, in breakrooms and other common areas, etc.) and label them well, specifying what should and shouldn’t be placed in them.
4. Electronic document management
Now we’re talking about BIG changes. In the 21st century, it’s possible to convert your paper-based business into an electronic-based business by utilizing a Document Management System (DMS). A good DMS will allow you to store and manage all of your documentation online. The upfront cost of the software is paid off over time as you save countless resources. Searching for and retrieving documents is simplified. Security can be kept as tight as you want it. You can even create and monitor your own unique workflows. Features include the ability to capture e-signatures and to redact sensitive information.
Whatever it is that you decide to do, the important thing is that you’re taking steps in the right direction. Work your business to the best of your ability, look out for your planet, and encourage those around you to be mindful of their actions.