Becoming a paperless office is something that is now possible because of technology. It is becoming increasingly popular due to the growing concerns over the rates of consumption and the impacts that the production of paper has. The consumption of paper across the world is at a worryingly high level. Many of us are unaware of the impact that paper production has on the world. Maybe we would think twice about how much paper we consume if we did. It is important to consider the impact that our businesses have on the environment and understand what appropriate changes we can implement to help tackle this growing problem.
The consumption of paper
On average an office worker will use 10,000 sheets of copy paper every year! This amounts to 4 boxes of paper in total per employee every year. These shocking statistics provide a little insight into how much paper an entire office may use yearly. It is obvious that this is not good for the environment. Not only does it have negative impacts on the environment, but can be a huge cost yearly for a business! On average a box of paper (containing 2,500 sheets) costs £10. This means that each employee costs £40 to the business per year just on paper usage.
The main way to significantly reduce the amount of paper we use is through embracing technology. Technology minimises paper usage by replacing functions that once required paperwork. Whilst some may be apprehensive to make the switch to technology, it is in the planet’s best interest to do so.
Effect of paper consumption
Paper production has a number of impacts on the world. It is much more than the cutting down of trees. The process of creating paper includes many steps – all of which have an impact on the environment.
This is the obvious effect of paper consumption. So far this year, over 8 million hectares of forest have been cut down or burned globally and up to 18 billion trees are cut down every year. Some impacts of this include; the increase in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere; people’s livelihoods damaged; habitats destroyed; harm to animals (causing some to be endangered of extinction).
Water and energy consumption
It takes 10 litres of water to produce a single sheet of A4 paper. The pulp and paper industry is the single largest industrial consumer of water in Western countries. In addition to this, the paper industry is the 5th largest consumer of energy in the world. It uses up to 4% of the world’s energy. To produce 1 ton of virgin paper, it is estimated that 253 gallons of petrol are used. It is estimated that if we continue to use this much fresh water we will run out in less than 20 years.
Paper accounts for around 26% of total waste at landfills. When paper rots, it emits methane, a greenhouse gas. As well as this, carbon dioxide is released when paper is burned or composted.
These are just some of the impacts of paper consumption, there are many more.
We need to take responsibility
It is important for all companies to do ‘their bit’ in helping to protect the environment. Even just being more conscious about how much paper we are using. For example:
- Is it necessary to print that document/email etc.?
- Could I use the duplex printing option?
- Do I really need to print duplicates of that document?
- Can I recycle the paper that I no longer need? Each ton of recycled paper can avoid the use of 17 trees; 1,440 litres of oil; 2.3 cubic metres of landfill space; 4,000 kilowatts of energy and 26,500 litres of water.
- Could we buy recycled paper?
- Could we encourage the paper industry to use environmentally friendly ways of manufacturing paper?
Businesses could also switch to technology, for example, oneHR to transform to paperless!
Positives of paperless for businesses
Not only would the environment reap the benefits if we became paperless or reduced our paper consumption, but you would too. We understand that many of you are busy and so in order to switch to a paperless system or swapping to paperless alternatives, it would need to work effectively and benefit you in order to make it a sustainable way of working. We’ve highlighted some of the benefits of technology below.
- Saves money on paper
- Save on space – paper and filing cabinets take up a lot of space.
- Saves time – time spent filing, organising and searching for paper documents is time that could be spent on more productive tasks.
- Boosts security – less chance of losing documents or of others gaining access
- Easier transfer of data
How is oneHR helping the environment – become paperless in your HR
At oneHR, we offer an online HR software that streamlines and simplifies human resource management. We help to make HR admin tasks less of a headache through efficient functions. We pride ourselves of helping business switch to paperless by offering a system which completes HR tasks without the need for paperwork. Trying to play our part is really important to us as a company. That is why we so proud that over the last 12 months oneHR has saved over 5,000 trees.
Online document storage –
It is easy for paperwork to pile up, and as a result to be lost. You can store documents on our cloud-based document storage system within oneHR., which ensures that all information is safe and secure. This enables good record keeping, and more importantly legal compliance. All of these documents remain live which is handy for appraisal documents for example. It also makes it much easier for employees to find relevant documents that they may need. There would be no need to have paper copies of all of these documents in your office, which will save on masses of paper and space.
Holiday Manager and Calendar –
Long gone are the days of keeping a paper-based calendar and updating a chaotic holiday spreadsheet. oneHR gives employees a view of their holiday allowance and team calendar to avoid clashes when requesting holidays. The user-friendly layout will allow you to save on hours of admin time, give more control to your team and more importantly, save on paper.
If you would like to discuss switching to a paperless system in more detail or would like to request a demo for oneHR, please don’t hesitate to contact the oneHR team today.
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