Why Going Paper Free Is a Good Green Office Move

So, you think your office’s act has reached perfect Green status? You’ve brought in the recycling bin for paper, plastics, glass and food, and even replaced every light bulb with energy saving bulbs.

That is excellent work, but there is still more to do!

The perfectly Green Office is one that has reduced its carbon footprint to practically nil, and the best way to achieve this is to rid the office of paper completely. The paper-free office is more than just green, it is also considered one of the most efficient working and administrative environments around.

Practical and Financial Advantages

Of course, there are very positive practical and financial aspects to switching to a paper-free system.

Consultants are not shy to highlight the fact that storage issues are all but erased thanks to storage on hard drives, servers and on USB and discs. Filing cabinets can then be replaces by office trees.

Since paper is not needed to print and store in a physical administrative folder on some shelf, there is no paper consumption and, therefore, no paper supply to replace.

Figures from the US indicate that an office worker uses around 10,000 sheets of paper per year, while the cost of actually using the paper can be as high as 31-times the cost of purchasing the paper. In fact, Citigroup, the international financial services corporation, has estimated that if their employees conserved one sheet of paper per week, they would save a total of $700,000 per year.

Environmental Advantages

The whole idea of going Green is to improve the environment and lower your office’s carbon footprint. The truth is that arguably the greenest policy is to remove paper from an office completely.

The reason is simply that the impact is far greater.

Figures have consistently shown paper and cardboard products to occupy the largest share of landfill refuse.

In 1994, for example, they represented 40% of the total solid waste generated in the US, and but it has only fallen to 28% according to 2009 figures from the EPA. And once in the landfill, paper takes an surprisingly long period of time to decompose (15 years) and creates a methane gas, one of the most destructive greenhouse gases, some 21 times more heat retaining than CO2.

And, of course, tree likes you! Why? Well, while paper recycling is a good thing, there is still a requirement for some virgin wood pulp to be used in the process – so some trees do need to be cut down.

If no paper is used (not even recycled paper), then zero trees need to be cut.

Despite the awareness we have of global deforestation, the rate of deforestation has actually increased over the last 4 decades, by a staggering rate of 400%.

According to ecology.com, an estimated 4 billion trees – or 35% of the world’s harvested trees – are used in the paper industry.

Needless to say, if every office in the world was to reduce its paper dependency to almost zero, the rate of tree-felling would, well… fall dramatically!

So, yes, those trees will definitely love you for it!

Cloth Towel Dispensers

Now that you know the benefits of going paper free, here is a simple way that Alsco can help you achieve that.

Research shows that most people prefer to dry their hands using cloth towels.

Continuous cloth towel  also offers significant environmental benefits: it has the lowest environmental impact of available hand drying systems. Research has also shown cloth towels to be the most effective hand-drying technique at removing bacteria. Hygienic hand drying is an important step to clean hands.

For more information, Alsco’s friendly representative will be happy to serve you.


  1. “Facts About Paper” (1996), Printers’ National Environmental Assistance Center – http://www.pneac.org/sheets/all/paper.cfm
  2. “How Does Recycling Paper Help Landfills”, lovetoknow.com – http://greenliving.lovetoknow.com/How_Does_Recycling_Paper_Help_Landfills
  3. “Environmental Impact of Paper”, Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_paper
  4. “Become a paper-less office”, reduce.org –

Image Courtesy: Kai Hendry

Disclaimer – These articles are provided to supply general health, safety, and green information to people responsible for the same in their organisation. The articles are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs.