Friday, September 12, 2008

14 Ways to Conserve Paper

I once read that paper is precious because of the thoughts and sentiments that are written on it ... once written, the ideas are forever released and shared with the world. I personally believe that paper is precious because of the natural resources that were used to make it. Every piece of virgin paper represents the consumption of trees, water, electricity, etc.

Conserving paper not only saves our natural resources, it saves us money as well. Most paper products are rather expensive and ... let's face it ... paper is usually a "single use" product. So here are some ideas for conserving it:
  1. Use cloth napkins instead of paper varieties.
  2. Check junk mail packages for usable paper. The backs of 8-1/2 x 11 sheets can often be used as printing paper, scratch paper, telephone message pads or coloring sheets for your kids.
  3. Instead of using new envelopes, use envelopes that come in bills, credit card offers, etc. Cross out or white out the company's address or use a label to cover it up. Another idea, glue pieces of other "waste" paper over the address.
  4. Save receipts from stores, libraries and banks and use the backs as shopping lists.
  5. Instead of printing out online receipts, save them as a file on your computer.
  6. Pay your bills online rather than receive an invoice in the mail.
  7. Use the back as well as the front of paper ... set your printer to double sided printing instead of single sided.
  8. Use cloth cleaning rags instead of paper towels.
  9. Use reusable dishes instead of paper plates.
  10. Use as little toilet paper as possible.
  11. Decorate, paint or color on the back of used sheets of paper and use them as gift wrapping.
  12. Recycle any paper that can't be used further.
  13. Write or call advertisers to get your name off their mailing list.
  14. Buy recycled paper products whenever possible.

Perhaps if we follow these ideas, we can reduce paper production to the point where the only paper produced will hold lofty ideas ... shared with the world.

As always, I would love to hear from you. Let me know how you walk gently on the earth.


  1. Wow! Thanks for all these helpful tips. I'll try to use as many as possible. I think conserving paper is very important. Thanks again!

  2. How do you respond to someone who says "paper is cheap". This is the response I get at work when I ask people to stop printing multiple copies of sales order and invoices that they often throw into the garbage within an hour? I even take the paper I can salvage from these idiots home with me to recycle or reuse, there is SO much ignorance/indefference out there...

  3. Hi Anonymous ... that's really a hard one! I have a few thoughts about that ... one is that paper may be cheap but it's not free and someone has to pay for it. Companies are trying to reduce their overhead costs and if they can't, it'll mean employee's jobs. So the paper they save may mean their job. You might also want to talk to your employer about it ... I'm sure they have an interest in saving money and might be able to encourage employees to reduce their use. Another thought is that paper is more than trees ... it's arable land, water, often pesticides & fertilizers ... it's energy used in processing natural resources into usable paper, etc. So not printing paper and using the backs goes a long way towards conservation. Some people still won't get it but ... hopefully if they hear the message often enough, it'll start to have meaning. There is a lot of ignorance/indifference out there but ... perhaps if we can find a way to make the issue more personal (like money from their pockets ... jobs, etc.), they'll take it to heart. I do believe that your example goes a long way in teaching people. Thanks for the comment.

  4. Another idea is to create (or donate your junk mail/recycled paper to someone crafty who might) Stash and Smash Journals, like shown here:

    Schools are also often on the lookout for scrap paper for art projects (eg: paper mache) .. Or it can be shredded for pet litter, or even soaked then compressed and allowed to dry for cheap fire-starters ..

  5. I asked my Facebook friends to offer up their tips & ideas ... here's the thread with their comments:

    Hope this helps!

  6. Good tips! We have quite a few "Go Green Tips" on ways to recycle on our site as well, including where to recycle weird stuff like paint, batteries, etc.

  7. Another good way to conserve trees is to vote to get cannabis legalized. Hemp can produce much more paper than trees, and can be recycled more too. And it is also easier and quicker to grow, and we would no longer have to rely on cutting down trees for paper.

  8. its quite good about how to save paper .....u know we should not waste paper in rough notes as we use only half of it and leave the other half .....i think its also a right way

  9. its a good site actually i got soo much information from this and the other way is we should not waste paper in rough note books as we use only half page and waste the other and we should not tear pages and throw it just like that... i think i also told teh right way??

  10. These are some great ideas! It's amazing how much paper we actually waste.

  11. Hi I found your blog very interesting, you show that small actions can help reduce the waste of paper in the world. The coolest thing is that anyone can do at least one of the tips. Your blog shows that the world can change but with different attitudes and different just all believe and change our thoughts.