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Cutting down on paper

Do you know how much paper you print every day? If you're like an average U.S. office worker, you might be printing 10,000 pages per year. Collectively, offices are using 8 million tons of office paper (3.2 billion reams) annually, requiring 178 million trees every year to satisfy our office paper needs.

Producing paper also uses energy and water for production -- a single sheet of paper can use 13 ounces of water, or more than a soda can, and releases greenhouse gases and other solid waste products.

The cost of a wasted piece of paper is 6 cents per page. It costs us money to not print smart! We can streamline our processes to use less paper with these key tips:

Use email or online versions whenever possible. Before sending to print, can you share and store the file electronically, or view it on the screen during a meeting?

Double-side. Many printers have duplex features that can be set to default.

Use another font. Century Gothic uses 30 percent less ink than Arial, and downloading Ecofont only needs the minimum pixels to still read the text while saving ink and money, reducing the need for as many inkjet cartridges.

Fit more on the page. Things like slightly expanding the margins and using single or 1.5 spacing or a smaller font (and more concise language!) can help pack more onto the page.

Buy recycled. Purchase office paper with at least 30 percent recycled content to support the market for post-consumer paper and recycling.

Use a print management program. Cut down on paper use by placing limits on how much each person can print.

These tips will help cut down our need for paper each month and help save money, too.

The Illinois Green Business Association is a nonprofit organization in Champaign that offers certification and green business services. You can contact the IGBA via their website at or call them at 217-531-2179.

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