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Tips for paper reduction-part 1

Tipps gegen Papierflut

Tips for paper reduction-part 1

Posted by Andrea Kaden in Paperless office, Tips and tricks 18 Sep 2011

Tips for paper reduction – part 1

You want to reduce paper? A paperless office does not of course mean that you need to scan everything you receive in the office. But for the first step you have to think how you can reduce the quantity of paper. You start to look for the paper sources and reduce them. One has to ask, where does the paper come from? We give you tips for paper reduction.


And the next step: what can you do about it?

Acknowledge external sources of paper

Let us first consider the paper which comes into the office „streams“ externally. Here again, one can distinguish:


a) papers that unasked for and uninvited end up in your post box; eg advertising, weekly journals.

b) papers sent which are unavoidable, such as water and  power accounts, insurance documents, or quotes and invoices.

c) documents which you have ordered yourself – newspaper subscriptions, catalogues

d) documents that you bring with you


Stem the external paperwork

The next question is, how can we limit or avoid this paperwork?


a) Call the sender and ask him to stop sending it, or refuse to accept; that is return it to the sender with fee, and of course always add a tip: Open and post directly to the rubbish. You know what advertising looks like, and can dispose of it immediately.


b) Terminate subscriptions. Most people do not manage to read their subscription newspapers at all. And do not you think that the stack of unread papers gives you a permanent guilty conscience? Would not it be much nicer, if you know that when you really have the time, or a specific information need, you can buy a newspaper with pleasure? You would not dispose of so much paper then, which if it is still unread is also particularly difficult.  Besides, there are so many newspapers and magazines now offering online subscriptions. You can also take them with you much more easily. You can also look at catalogues online.


c) Most of these documents you can scan, store electronically, and dispose of the originals. You should also know that 80% of all papers filed are never ever needed again. This is true both for the office and for the home. But even if you do not want to scan you do not need every insurance advice or every water services invoice. The last two years are enough, at least if there are no inconsistencies. For companies, however, specific retention rules; for example original invoices still need to be kept.


d) Many people still tend to bring promotional material on the road with them, such as flyers, especially to events, There is still a tendency in people to pack things such as flyers and promotional material just because it’s free. Check out exactly what you really want and need to take. Or photograph the information and send via email, or put it online at your information point. There are numerous apps for smartphones that enable this, actually very easily. Then you also have them available on the move or can share them with others. There are also great tools with which you can create classified notebooks for yourself.

Do you have any experiences or tips to reduce the paper flow from external sources?


Next week more here about avoiding internal paper!

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