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Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

4 ways to reduce your paper impact

Printer with recycling symbol

Credit: iStockphoto

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Of course, reducing the amount of bills you get in the mail isn't the only way to lighten your paperwork impact. Last week we talked about cutting back on junk mail, but there's plenty of other options too.

  • Cancel your Yellow Pages delivery and switch to their online version instead. Scroll to the bottom of this Sensis page to send them an email requesting that you be taken off the delivery list for either the Yellow Pages, White Pages, or both.
  • Reduce the amount of pages you print at home and work by changing to double-sided printing. Usually your printer will have an option for this, but if not, check out these instructions on how to manually print double-sided.
  • Or print things you need to keep as PDF files, not paper copies. There's plenty of free software to do this for you: I like CutePDF, but there are many to choose from that do a great job. They just add "PDF" to the list of printers available to you when you click the Print button on a program or website, and create a file that you can save.
  • Cancel some magazine or newspaper subscriptions (but keep G Magazine and pass it on to a friend when you're done reading it! It's printed on recycled paper after all.)

Don't forget to recycle or compost any paper you can't avoid!

Just this week I had an unexpected opportunity to cut back on my mail. My old high school now offers an online (PDF) version of their alumni newsletter. I signed up to it and can now see what everyone's up to without creating more paper waste.

I also found out that a business I hold shares in offers online notifications and reports. This is great - not only does it reduce the amount of huge reports they send around the country, the information is now searchable. Less time spent leafing through them looking for the information I want, now I can just get right to the point.

If you've got more suggestions about ways to cut back on paper waste, let us know in the comments!