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Let Us Go for GMail, Go GREEN

I am not telling or recommending the Google Mail here for communicating with people, instead I am telling about the Green Mail (mail is our traditional ways of communication - sending through Dak, Post, courier etc. etc.).

As these days, we are slowly and steadily come to understand about the importance of conserving energy, preserving water, protect environment, curtail carbon emissions and even the children know the importance of protection of environment and people talk about the terms carbon emission, Ozone Layer, deforestation like they talk about domestic items. The paper is produced by cutting trees and the resultant deterioration of greenery will impact the environment, think that one ton of paper saves 17 trees, 6,593 gallons of water, 380 gallons of oil, 587 pounds of air pollution, 3.06 cubic yards of landfill space and 4,077 kilowatt hours of energy.

The fact is that paper and pulp is the single largest industrial consumer of forests and the fourth largest industrial consumer of energy. A sustainable forest management practices is an effective way to limit the destruction of the world's forests, a significant amount of pulp comes from fast growing Eucalyptus trees planted on cleared rainforest land in Brazil. Moreover, if you consider the chemical process used for pulp production, the bleaching process to whiten the pulp, and finally, the pollution created through the disposal of paper in landfills, office paper consumption is anything but "green".


Look around any office premises and it can be seen the piles of paper being generated on daily basis; it is very easy to tell about paperless office, however we wish to quickly dismiss the predictions of the "paperless office" in the next count as we can not do this in a fine morning. Even inspite of the introduction of the Internet and digital technology, still paper is very important in the office and the trend of consumption shows no signs of reduction in near future. Whether it is printing email, web pages, documents, digital photographs, the office environment is a huge source of paper waste, and moreover that it is a costly affair. Research predicts office paper consumption increasing by 20% per year, and on average, each office worker uses up to 50 sheets of A4 paper a day.

At the same time, paper is lost on desks, left in printer trays, or even ripped within minutes of being printed, often unread. In a typical office, at least half of the paper is wasted. Not only does this wastage have an environmental impact, but major costs can be attributed to both the purchasing and disposal of paper, not to mention the business inefficiencies associated with paper dependent processes.

Though today information is most commonly captured electronically, paper remains an active part of our life style for many of us, as it is a familiar, convenient, and versatile medium. For those businesses for which paper consumption is high, this paper dependency brings with it high storage costs and reduced productivity associated with filing and retrieving documents. It is our responsibility to reduce paper consumption through a reduce, reuse, and recycle approach not only offers the opportunity to improve business efficiency and save costs, but also respond to the environmental concerns associated with paper consumption.

The negative environmental effects of paper use are complex and may not be immediately obvious to organisations where paper is an unquestioned part of their business processes. The premise of simply printing less should be the starting point for any person wishing to reduce its paper trail. We should adopt a concept of "think before you print" policy, which goes some way to build awareness of the paper wastage associated with unnecessary printing. However, when printed documents are needed, whether it is for reference or review, there are a number of easy steps that can be taken to reduce the amount of paper used;

1. Use double-sided printing on printers having such capabilities.
2. Use multiple images per page printing can significantly reduce printed output.
3. Use smaller fonts
4. Print maximum PowerPoint presentation sheets on one sheet (we usually go for 2 on a page)
5. Use print preview to check document layout and to use track changes for document review rather than using hard copy output.
6. Think before printing, if it is really needed or not doing it for the sake of printing such documents.
7. Avoid sending fax msgs. instead send scanned msgs over mail (insist people to have email account and often open it)
8. Unimportant and small matters can be discussed while reading on computer.

To effectively print less, users need to be educated about these methods for reducing printed output. Even as this is a good starting point, for an organisation to truly understand their print and paper usage, a rightsizing approach to the printer environment needs to be developed. Rightsizing office equipment by replacing single function desktop printers, faxes, and copiers with multifunction devices can help paper reduction through enabling users to scan documents and send an electronic version to multiple recipients, instead of making multiple copies of the document. Rightsizing can not only lower paper consumption in this way, but also offer the added benefits of reduced energy, ink, toner, and maintenance costs.

Moving to an electronic document management system can be a key step in tackling the paper utilization. There is no doubt that there is tremendous scope for reducing paper waste in offices. However, it would be foolish to chase the utopian ideal of the paperless office. If there is an office, there are papers too, we are obsessed with papers and situation is like that we can not live without papers. The optimum office print environment has to be one where paper use is efficiently managed, and processes are in place to take advantage of today's scanning, storage, workflow, and communication technology that can transform fundamental business processes. Shifting from a "print-and-distribute" model to a more efficient "" approach will not only reduce costs, but boost productivity and help reduce the office paper mountain which has never been more important than in today's environmentally aware business culture.

Everyone has to understand how can we protect the environment and to save the earth as well as save money by protecting the environment. Climate change is very much in the in the news. It is desirable everyone's "GOING GREEN." Luckily, many of the steps we can take to stop climate change can make our lives better. Our grandchildren-and their children-will thank us for living more sustainable. The paper recycling is an obvious and easy way to reduce waste in the workplace; it diverts paper from landfills and addresses some of the concerns related to the production of "virgin pulp" paper. Although recycling has certain benefits in minimizing paper wastage, ultimately reducing paper use is the most effective way to limit the environmental impact of paper waste.

Let's start now. Let us go GMail and let us go GREEN

Contributing Writer  Satish Nair [email protected]


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