With a name like PaperCut, it’s obvious where we stand on protecting the environment. As an eco-friendly printing company, we want people to print less, not more. We’re also keen on walking the walk, which is why our office features everything from recycled timber to composted coffee grounds (not to mention a dedicated Environmental Guild; more on that one below…)
Still, there’s always more we could be doing, right? Energy saving initiatives, recycling office waste and other consumables, green energy procurement, improving our internal green metrics. Corporate sustainability is a journey, not a destination. You’re never really ‘finished’ when it comes to ESG.
So, with that in mind here are just a few things you could consider doing around the office to keep shrinking your footprint and become more sustainable.
Embrace digital document management
US offices use 1.2 trillion sheets of paper each year. Do you know how many of those pages could have stayed Word docs? Us neither, but we’re betting a lot. Digitizing your document management (i.e. storing things on secure cloud servers, rather than filing cabinets) is one of the fastest ways to shrink your carbon footprint.
Make your servers more sustainable
Data centers and data transmission networks account for about 1% of greenhouse gas emissions. That’s a lot. But by choosing energy-efficient server hardware, running virtual servers on the same physical server, and powering your servers with renewable energy, you can dramatically reduce your impact. Some businesses are even putting their server heat emissions to good use!
Leverage the benefits of cloud computing
Cloud computing and cloud printing basically reduces server double-ups, allowing multiple users to run their operations through a single data center. It’s more cost-efficient for businesses, but also better for the environment. Cloud computing allows server virtualization and consolidation, and also benefits from economies of scale. (It also lets you print from anywhere, but that’s a story for another time .)
Recycle everything (we mean everything)
Here at PaperCut HQ, we try to recycle as much as possible, right down to the spent coffee beans in the espresso machine. And any office can kickstart a recycling program. Make sure recycling bins are clearly labelled and delineated, and place them in high-use areas like kitchens and common areas. Don’t forget to spread the word either! Communicate recycling best practice to staff, and make sure they know where the bins are.
Control the thermostat
A typical office HVAC system accounts for about 40% of total building energy consumption. That’s huge! Instead of blasting the AC all day in summer, be smart about it. Use a smart thermostat to schedule temperature changes throughout the day; talk to your HVAC suppliers about more energy efficient models; if you’re designing a new office, use ventilation, tinting and window orientation to naturally control your office temperature. There are a ton of ways to manage your AC footprint!
Manage your e-waste
E-Waste represents about 2% of America’s trash in landfills (not to mention 70% of its toxic waste). It’s a massive problem, and it’s usually avoidable. Try and extend the life of your printers and scanners wherever you can: repair instead of replace, donate old models to charity, support refurbishment programs in your local area, and participate in recognized e-waste recycling schemes (a quick Google will find the ones closest to you).
Start with eco-friendly procurement
There’s one team in every office that has more influence over corporate sustainability than anyone, and that’s Procurement. If companies start losing contracts due to their poor eco credentials, you can bet they’ll change their practices really fast. Always vet your suppliers’ ESG track record, and look for opportunities to source more sustainable products. If you can’t find this info, ask! Any supplier that isn’t 100% transparent about their sustainability policy isn’t a supplier you should be using.
Set up an internal ‘Green Team’
Internal green teams are a great way to manage sustainability around the office. At PaperCut, we have the Environmental Guild. Their purpose is to ensure we’re living our values of caring for the environment. Yes, we’re saving trillions of pages – but what else can we do? The guild shares best-practice tips with our team while bringing in guest speakers to help broaden our knowledge.
As we said earlier, we’re not perfect yet, but every day we’re trying harder to be mindful of our responsibilities to the environment. If you take corporate sustainability seriously, you need to be doing the same. For more info on how PaperCut can help shrink your printing, errr, footprint, check out our Sustainability page .