2. Reduce Junk Mail.
US mailboxes receive an average of 675 pieces of junk mail per year. That adds up to four million tons of paper per year, nationwide. Following are some steps your company can take to reduce the junk mail you receive.
Step #1: Remove your name from junk mail lists.
Send letters to notify mail houses that your business wishes to be removed from their list.
National Mail House addresses:
Attn: Consumer Assistance
PO Box 249
Windsor, CT 06095
Donnelly Marketing, Inc.
Attn: Database Operations
416 S Bell
Ames, IA 50010
901 W Bond
Lincoln, NE 68521
(Source: National Waste Prevention Coalition Junk Mail Reduction Project, 2003)
Step #2: Notify individual mailers that you wish to be removed from their lists (use the following methods to stop specific types of junk mail your business receives).
Postage paid mail with return envelope
Write ‘Please Remove’ on the piece of mail. Place the mail in the return envelope and mail it back to the sender. Be sure to write your name and address exactly as it’s found on the mailing label.
Bulk mail and postage paid mail with no return envelope
Write ‘Please Remove’ near your address on the piece of unwanted mail. Place that section in an envelope, apply proper postage and mail it to the sender.
First class, first class pre-sort, express and priority mail
Write on the outside of the envelope “Not at this address” or “Refused” on the outside of the envelope. The post office will return it to the sender at no charge to you. This also applies to standard mail labeled “address service requested”, “Forwarding service requested”, “Return service requested”, or “Change service requested”.
Mail for former employees
Junk mail that is addressed to former employees can be stopped using a free service provided by Ecological Mail Coalition. The service is available online at http://www.ecologicalmail.org, or by phone at 800-620-3975.
Implementing these junk mail reduction strategies will save time and natural resources. However, you may have to be persistent and patient; these strategies can take two to six months to work. Many businesses have found it helpful to have one person coordinate stopping junk mail for the office.
Step #3: Avoid getting on junk mail lists
- Include “Please do not share this name or address with other mailers” on purchase orders, registrations, and subscriptions.
- Make it standard practice for employees to ask businesses they deal with not to share their names.
- Screen callers who ask for company information and ask them not to add your business to their mailing list.
3. Reduce Paper Waste.
The typical US office worker uses about 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year. That is a 100-pound stack of paper, rising over four feet high! Below are some tips to help guide your paper waste prevention and recycling efforts.
Setting the stage for green printing – The foundation for printing green starts with a purchasing policy that commits to the following practices:
- Select paper that contains the highest percentage of recycled content available and/or is third –party certified as using wood products from sustainably managed forests (FSC).
- Print on recycled paper products that are chlorine free. Unbleached papers are whitened with more benign chemicals.
- Set printers to print double-sided by default.
- Collect single-sided print paper to be reused in designated printers or as scratch paper.
Individual practices add up. Be sure that everyone in the workplace knows how to reduce paper use in completing their day-to-day tasks:
- Use spelling and grammar check
- Review and edit draft documents on screen rather than paper.
- If you need to print large reports, consider reducing margins and font size to allow more text to fit on each page.
- Use Print Preview to avoid printing unwanted pages.
- Print one copy as a test before printing multiple copies of a document.
- Print multiple pages to a single sheet of paper.
- Set up your printer’s mailbox option to reduce unnecessary print jobs.
- Print documents double-sided.
- Learn how to cancel print jobs from your computer and printer.
- Send and receive faxes from your computer.
- Program your fax machine so it will not print confirmation sheets.
- Eliminate fax cover sheets by using fax Post-it Notes.
File Storage – Dramatically reduce paper use and eliminate the cost and space needed for bulky file cabinets by storing data electronically:
- Employ office Intranet solutions that allow open or password-protected access to documents, presentations, and databases through an office network or via the web.
- File documents electronically.
- Store older documents in electronic archives using data compression software.
- Create a central storage area to file important documents, rather than storing several copies at locations throughout the office.
Distribution – Cut paper use by utilizing electronic distribution where possible:
- Use email.
- Eliminate duplicates on mailing lists.
- Make copies only as needed.
- Consolidate mail that regularly goes to specific businesses or individuals.
Publication – When designing brochures, magazines and other informational resources, consider these tips:
- Create and distribute publications electronically.
- Consider using a lighter weight paper. Less weight means less paper.
- Reduce trim size. Shaving 1/4 inch off your book, magazine or catalog might save thousands of pounds of paper per year. Lower weight also reduces postage costs.
- Avoid bleeds. Bleeds occur when text, color or images spill off the page. To achieve this, print shops often print on larger sheets and cut off the white margin, thus creating waste. To avoid this, be sure to size documents with the margins of the sheets used by the printer.
- Reduce print runs. Look in your supply closet, back room and/or warehouse to identify printing jobs for which you ordered too many pieces. Cut back on the quantity printed to avoid waste.
- Use standard paper sizes. Design your printed pieces to take maximum advantage of common sheet sizes.
- Use print-on-demand technology. Print manuals, catalogs, newsletters and even books as needed.
- Use bindings such as staples and tape that are acceptable in the recycling process.
- For documents that are cut to size, lay out the document to fit as many as possible on each sheet.
- Save electronic versions of documents so it’s easy to reorder.
- When printing, request paper with the highest percentage of recycled content available and/or is third-party certified as using wood products from sustainably managed forests (FSC).