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Published on August 12th, 2013 | by Ruksana Hussain


Eleven Ways to Reduce Paper Waste

Continued from page one about how to reduce paper waste…

6. Fly easy with electronic Boarding passes – Even your airline travel, hotel and car rental confirmation and restaurant reservations can be accessed through your mobile phone these days to help you avoid printing something uncessary. The QR code on the flight confirmations can be scanned on your phone at no hassle to authorities. Even if the QR code does not work, there is typically an alpha-numeric code that can be punched unique to your transaction so you don’t have to fret about lack of a back-up paper copy.

7. Shopping – Even at stores that provide paper bags instead of plastic, try to carry along your cloth bags and use those instead. The paper bags are reusable and certainly a better option compared to plastic, but they will succumb to wear and tear sooner than cloth bags and that will see them heading for the trash can quicker than you expected, especially if you end up soiling a paper bag with any liquids you purchased.


8. Give sustainable gifts with reused and reuseable bags and wrap – If you are buying these for packing presents, make sure you don’t write on the bag or paper itself so that way they can be reused by the recipient. Using ribbon and bows is also a great idea as they can be reused in future. Another option is to package wrap gifts with newspaper or magazine paper – which makes for a fun and interesting alternative that folks will notice, and then tie it up together with reused ribbon. If you are really trying to impress, try these eco-friendly gift wrap options.

9. Printing – The first question though is whether you even need to print at all… many times the answer is probably not! Documents can be emailed or shared on a local server and edits made to it online. If you must print, try to reduce the font size maybe and cover more copy in a page than you usually would or print lesser copies and have folks share. If you do use a printer at home or at the office, make sure you use both sides of the paper before trashing or shredding. Likewise with memo pads and notebooks – try to use both sides of a page.

10. Find alternatives to Paper towels – You have cloth towels in the bathroom so why not in the kitchen, too? Use one to wipe hands, one to wipe down vessels, and one to wipe down the kitchen table surface. Even if you wash and reuse, these towels can work for months together instead of rolls of paper towels that you have to keep replacing every month. These reusable EcoTowls are awesome, and can be used anywhere in the house, and machine washed after! When it comes to toilet paper, try using ones made from recycled paper and not virgin toilet paper.

11. Greetings and invitations – These are probably the most cherished of paper products that people love to give and receive – greeting cards for special occasions and invitations for important events. But try to curtail your paper usage to that if possible. If you love throwing parties then there are so many online invite websites with fabulous themes and designs that you can use. These are free of charge for you and your recipient, and you can send out as many as you like without harming a leaf. You can also recycle the holiday cards you do receive!

These might seem like the simplest steps to take to reduce paper waste, and many of you might be thinking “But I already do that… sometimes” Like all good habits, these steps need to be done consistently in order to ensure the habit sticks… and inspires others to follow your green path! Please pass these tips on towards friends, family and coworkers to help them do their best to reduce paper waste too!

Rubbish bin image from Shutterstock/ Lipskiy; shopping bag image from Shutterstock/monticello

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