Fort McCoy News Jan. 27, 2017

Army Reserve Sustainability Programs

encourage office paper reduction

Army Reserve Sustainability Programs

If you have ever felt that you were drowning in a sea of white paper at your desk, you are not alone.

Paper is a popular commodity, but its massive consumption has effects on both our natural and fiscal resources. According to Ecology Global Network, about 4 billion trees worldwide are felled to manufacture paper each year. Paper production is the third most energy-intensive of all manufacturing industries, accounting for 12 percent of energy consumption in the industrial sector. Paper mills are the fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases in manufacturing. The creation of paper from virgin materials is also a water-intensive industry, and it produces copious amounts of waste water.

The environmental effects of paper do not end with its production, though. Paper accounts for half of business waste and is one of the largest single components of landfill waste. About 25 percent, or 30 million tons, of landfill waste is paper.

Paper does not come cheap, either. Millions of dollars are expended on paper supplies and paper management by businesses.
And, despite the constantly growing number of electronic mediums available to conduct business, worldwide paper consumption has increased by 400 percent in the last 40 years and is expected to double by the year 2030.


The Army Reserve potentially could reduce its paper use by 20-25 percent if everyone remains mindful of conservation.

"Paper usage reduction in the Army Reserve will help reduce operating costs and improve business efficiency," said Army Reserve Solid Waste and Recycling Coordinator Tyrone Cook. "Environmentally, it will help reduce the negative impacts associated with paper usage such as resource use, pollution from processing and production, transportation costs, and disposal costs."

At Fort McCoy, the installation achieved a 43 percent reduction in paper use between 2010 and 2014, said Directorate of Public Works Environmental Compliance Chief Susan Herzog-Blumer.

"In 2010, the garrison purchased 77,450 pounds of copy paper, and, in 2014, 11,060 pounds of copy paper was purchased," Herzog-Blumer said. "This effort was focused only on copy paper. The reduction has been achieved, in part, through using the shared drive to store files (instead of using paper files), and printing copies two-sided."

Consider the following paper reduction tips for further paper reduction.

• Adopt a "think before you copy" attitude, and print or copy only what is needed.

• Print or copy on both sides of the paper, and set office printers to double-sided ("duplex") mode by default.

• Print documents that could become outdated – such as business cards and letterhead – on demand instead of storing stocks of documents.

• Store and share files electronically instead of maintaining hard copies.

• Archive emails in electronic folders instead of printing them.

• For document editing, use the electronic proofing features in word-processing and PDF programs instead of editing on hard copies.

• Use electronic presentation programs or white boards instead of paper for briefings and presentations.

• Opt out of individual mailings of catalogs, journals, annual reports, magazines, and other publications, and share copies with colleagues instead.

• Read publications online instead of on hard copies.

• Reduce paper flow by conducting processes such as banking, invoicing, and ordering online.

• Use labels to mark file folders instead of writing on the folders directly.

• Reuse paper supplies as much as possible. For instance, use a blank section of unneeded paper as a scratch pad.

• Share unneeded or unwanted paper supplies with your colleagues.

• Choose the most environmentally sound paper possible when purchasing. Choose the lightest paper weight available.

• Minimize use of packaging materials when shipping, and reuse packaging materials such as cardboard boxes and "peanuts" as much as possible.

• Use reusable cups, dishes, and utensils instead of disposable products. Replace paper napkins with cloth napkins and paper towels with sponges.

Visit for more ideas on reducing office paper. For more information about paper reduction at Fort McCoy, call 608-388-7990.