Paper waste is an unnecessary addition to the growing waste problem that your planet is facing. Paper can be recycled, but more often than not in businesses throughout the world, the paper ends up in a trash bin.
According to an article by Fortune magazine, “for every million dollars in revenue, a company generates an average of 7.8 metric tons of waste. Almost 40 percent of that waste is easy-to-recycle paper. The study also found that if companies could reduce their paper waste by just one percent, they could save almost one billion dollars”.
Let’s think about that for a moment. One billion dollars could potentially be saved per year. This number only applies of course to businesses that generate billions in income per year, but the concept remains the same no matter the size of your business.
What’s Wrong With Using Paper?
The internet has created an entire world unto itself. This digital world contains limitless storage space for traditional paper documents. Before computers and the internet, company paperwork was organized and filed either in bins or filing cabinets.
While there’s nothing wrong with using paper, it can create a multitude of potential issues. First and foremost, paper occupies a lot of space, especially if you’re in a business niche that requires you to keep certain records for a specified period of time.
Furthermore, paper costs money, as does the ink and the printer for printing documents. The upfront costs of expensive printers and their yearly maintenance and ink replacements can add up into the thousands of dollars.
One of the most important impacts is that of the waste it generates. Have you ever thrown out an entire employee handbook when you were hired for a new job? Or tossed that performance review in the trash once your employer discussed it?
According to a study by the Environmental Protection Agency, “the total generation of municipal solid waste in 2015 was 262.4 million tons”. The article includes a graph which breaks down the percentages of said waste, and paper and paperboard accounted for 25.9 percent of all municipal waste. That’s a quarter of all solid waste.
How To Initiate Paperless Practices In Your Business
One of the first things you can do to introduce paperless practices to your business is to sort out your filing cabinets. Filter out the unimportant or expired documents, (checking with all company, state, and federal regulations for certain documents such as tax records) and recycle the unnecessary documents. It’s best to have them shredded first and then recycle the paper.
You can also hire a document shredding service to take care of the process for you. They’ll securely transport your documents to a shredding center to be destroyed, recycling the paper once it’s been successfully shredded.
After you’ve sorted out the unnecessary paperwork, it’s time to purchase cloud storage and begin uploading your important documents. Cloud storage acts as a virtual hard drive that you can store any type of file on.
Cloud storage is safe, secure, and allows for files to be shared, edited, and downloaded from anywhere. The storage is secured with a password, and permission must be given by the document’s creator for access.
Another effective way to cut out the paper in your business is by using invoice generator software. This type of software allows the user to create custom invoices for your customers, and digitally deliver them.
This software can also provide payment services to make the payment process simple and efficient. You’ll get notifications when an invoice is due or when it has been paid by the customer, keeping you up to date with your financials.
Electronic payments are also faster than sending a paper invoice. Waiting on a company check can take days or even weeks, whereas when you pay through an online service, the funds usually take only a few business days to reach your account.
Going paperless means that all of your company information can be accessed and shared easily among employees. There’s no need to locate important documents in overflowing filing cabinets, as they’re already at everyone’s fingertips in the cloud.
Email Over Traditional Mail
By going paperless, you eliminate the need for traditional stamp and envelope mailing. Emails will become the staple of communication in your business, and even if you should require a hard copy of a document, it can be easily printed from an email.
Paperless Gives Your Business A Progressive Reputation
Paperless is the future of business. There are already many businesses working toward going completely paperless, reducing their costs and carbon footprint at the same time. As the world begins to progress toward a more “green” mentality, it’s important for any modern business not to be left behind.
Going paperless gives your business a reputation of awareness and responsibility. Customers will respect a business that is concerned with their environmental impact, as we reach record levels of pollution and municipal waste.
Now That You’ve Got Extra Money…
Saving overhead costs is the best way to generate more profit in your business. Cutting costs and maximizing profits is much simpler when you choose to remove paper from the equation.
With all of those savings from going paperless, you can invest money back into your business. You can offer better wages to employees, research potential products or services, or expand your marketing and organic reach.