3 Simple Ways We Can Waste Less Paper

Claudia Bradley, Multimedia Journalism Student 15th March 2022

Just how much paper do we use each year in the UK? Apparently, around ten million tonnes of it. In fact, Brits get through roughly five trees per year!

Recycling is more sustainable than sending paper to landfill, but using fewer resources in the first place helps to reduce emissions, pollution and deforestation. Let’s take a look at three ways to avoid paper waste at home and when out and about!

Offices

As more workers return to their offices after working from home, will we see an increase in workplace waste? Sadly, this could be the case, as the average office worker uses around 10,000 sheets of paper each year and around 75% of this is thrown away!

Just think how much could be avoided if we digitised the way we worked! Emailing instead of posting, electronic reminders instead of post-it notes, and cloud-based storage instead of paper files would help us avoid wasting paper. A paperless office reduces your company’s carbon footprint and saves money.

Next time you’re at work, ask yourself: “Do I really need to print this? How can I get this done without using paper?” and before you know it, you’ll have saved many trees. 

Hand on laptop
Consider how you can reduce paper waste if you go back to working in an office.

Schools

When we think of the exercise books, report cards, and artistic paper mache creations, it’s no surprise that individual pupils produce between 22kg (secondary school pupils) and 45kg (primary school pupils) of paper waste each year. Considering there are over 10 million pupils in the UK, this amounts to nearly 500 million kg of paper waste per year!

Schools can make a number of changes to reduce the amount of wasted paper, such as:  

  • Promoting the use of e-textbooks
  • Donating books to charity after use to extend the lifespan of the paper
  • Communicating with parents via emails and e-newsletters
  • Setting online learning and homework
  • Educating staff and pupils about the importance of climate change and recycling paper
  • Ensuring there are recycling bins around the school
School desks
Schools can make a huge difference to the amount of paper that is wasted.

Daily Life

From toilet roll and shopping lists to bank statements and gift wrap, we use tonnes of paper in our everyday lives! If you’re looking to cut back on paper waste at home, why not replace kitchen roll with washable cloths and sign up to digital bills, statements and receipts to cut down on postal waste.

Kitchen roll
Ditch the single-use products for those you can reuse.

If you’ve done all you can to reduce paper usage but still want to make a difference, why not try:

  • Recycled toilet paper
  • Using scrap paper for notes
  • Throwing shredded paper on your compost heap
  • Making wrapping paper from old newspapers and magazines

Try an easy switch today and be sure to share these tips with friends and family!