Updated: 12/29/2017 by Computer Hope

Paperless is a concept that involves the elimination of all paper use in the home, office, or school environment. While the use of paper has decreased, the user of paper is still prevalent, and there are not many companies that are completely paperless.

Why go paperless?

  • Saves trees - It may seem obvious, but the average tree produces less than 100,000 sheets of paper, which is not much. Trees produce oxygen, and although they are a vast resource, it is still a resource that can be depleted.
  • Saves ink and toner - Your printer ink and toner are the most expensive consumable. Limiting your printing saves ink and toner, which saves you money.
  • Saves space - Storing paper documents, books, magazines, and manuals take space. However, an electronic version takes no space.
  • Saves energy - Your printer uses energy and if you are in a school or business where the printer is on all day it adds up.
  • Saves money - Not printing saves energy, paper, ink, and toner. You also save money in shipping since electronic documents cost nothing to send over the Internet. Also, in the case of books and magazines the electronic version is always cheaper than the paper version.
  • Saves time - When printing a document with dozens of pages, it takes time to print each of the pages. Also, sending and receiving documents, e-books, or other electronic documents can be done in minutes instead of days.

Tips on going paperless

  • Think before you print - Before printing anything, decide if what you are printing can be used in its electronic format.
  • Print to PDF - Anything can be printed to a PDF file. Printing is not always the only option to get a copy of something. Once printed, you can attach that PDF to an e-mail and save it to your computer.
  • Use your smartphone - If you have a smartphone, use it for your grocery lists, to-do lists, or really any list. Not only does this save paper but these lists can be shared with others, is always with you, and is less likely to be lost.
  • Save on the cloud - Documents and files can be stored in cloud tools like Evernote, Google Docs, and Dropbox. Storing them in the cloud enables multiple people to have access and update the file from any device (e.g., computer, phone, or tablet) that has Internet access.
  • Digital signatures - Some companies may need to print documents because of the need of signatures. However, today many companies now accept digital signatures and no longer require any of the documents to be printed.
  • Get an e-reader or tablet - Investing in an e-reader or tablet can save money and greatly reduce your paper use, especially if you are an avid reader or need reading material for school or work.
  • Make it difficult to print - Many people print because it is convenient. Make it difficult by keeping your printer off, which also saves money in energy bills and may even save printer ink.
  • Print two-sided - If there is no way getting around printing print two-sided instead of one-sided.

Business terms, Electronic office, Office automation, Soft copy