All businesses, even those done online, produce significant amounts of paper waste every day. There are paper documents, receipts, sticky notes, package filler paper, and more. Aside from hurting the environment, too much writing for your online business can lead to high costs in the long run, even if the values seem negligible now.
Hence, here are the best ways to reduce paper waste while running an online business:
1. Digitize as much as you can
Modern technology makes it possible to do almost all business processes digitally, yet so many business owners don’t take advantage of this fact. If you want to cut your paper usage in half or perhaps even more, digitize your business as many business processes as possible. For example:
- Use digital invoice tools. Physical invoices make up for a ton of paper waste. Instead, use a digital invoicing system that eliminates paper invoices and makes it easier for you to track your finances digitally. Aside from that, digital invoices are kept in a backup so that you don’t lose your records, unlike paper invoices, which are easy to lose or damage.
- Switch to digital files. Is your base of operations teeming with paper files? Reduce the mess (and paper usage) by digitizing your filing system and storing them on the cloud. Not only does this strategy help you cut down your waste, but it also makes your filing system more efficient.
- Make notes digitally. Use digital pads instead of buying sticky notes or notepads for random notes. It’s much more eco-friendly and reduces the risk of losing notes everywhere.
- Allow for electronic signatures. Whenever possible, to eliminate the need to print multiple pages of documents that need to be signed.
2. Rethink your packaging
Packaging is another area of an online business that produces a lot of paper waste. , which are not as inexpensive as paper, you can be mindful of the amount of material you use. But when you use writing for packaging (paper fillers, wrapping, labels), the cheap costs make it easier to use more forms than you need to.
Here’s how you can cut down your paper usage for packaging:
- Consider using thinner paper materials for wrapping, especially if it’s done mainly for aesthetic purposes.
- Buy recycled paper or reuse paper that you have in your office or at home as much as possible.
- Shred recycled paper materials to create paper fillers for your packages; you can even use newspapers, brown bags, and magazines.
- Consider making your labels smaller or thinner.
3. Think before you print
When you run an online business, you usually don’t have much to print. But when you do, think twice before hitting that Print button. If the file can be stored as a PDF or used digitally, don’t waste more paper by printing it.
4. Print smaller cards
Sending thank you cards is the norm for many online businesses, but you don’t have to print them on a big piece of paper. Instead, have your cards printed on smaller pieces of paper, and maybe consider reducing the thickness, too. As long as the message can still be read, your thank you card will still have the same effect on customers, making them feel valued.
5. Don’t throw away used paper
When the used form accumulates in our work area, the first instinct is to chuck them in the trash bin. But don’t do this just yet! Your used paper can still serve a purpose as a notepad or even another document (print on the other side!). If you want to create a notebook or pad from your used paper, you can take them to a copy shop to have them bound or even wrap them yourself with a padding compound.
6. Buy thinner or recycled paper
If it is impossible to eliminate paper usage at your business, opt for recycled or thin paper instead. Compared to regular copy paper, these paper types are cheap and eco-friendly. Reserve the normal copy paper or special paper for more important documents, such as contracts or proposals that must be sent to a client.
Reducing paper waste at any business, online or not, is very easy. You have to find ways that are in line with your business needs. Not only does this help you reduce expenses for paper, but it is also a great way to help conserve our natural resources.