Business as usual in any office environment makes it hard to ignore the ever-present mountains of paper. The active role that paper plays for many businesses is due to a familiar, convenient, and versatile medium. Propelled by the computer age, paper consumption has exploded and shows no sign of slowing down. Most business processes are still paper centric and are not automated, creating inefficiencies that contribute to half of the total waste in a typical office.
Consider the follow paper consumption facts:
- Historically, the earth’s surface consisted of 60% forest
- Today that amount has been reduced to 30% and is still shrinking
- One tree makes about 2 cartons of paper (10,000 8.5 x 11 pages)
- The average worker uses up to 50 pieces of paper per day or more than 2 cartons per year
- The average worker consumes more than one tree per year
- 9.6 trillion paper documents are produced annually
- 9.6 trillion paper document require:
- 7.5 billion gallons of oil
- 78.7 billion kwh of energy
- 9.6 trillion paper documents require:
- Trees covering the area of Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine
- Enough paper to build a 12 foot high wall from New York to California
- Enough space to consume 36% of all the available public landfills
- And to make matters worse, there is no end in sight because paper consumption is increasing by 22% annually, doubling every 5 years.
This high level of business paper consumption brings high storage costs and reduced productivity associated with filing and retrieving documents. By formulating green agendas that include document management solutions to convert paper-based documents to digital documents, corporations promote responsibility and reduced paper consumption through reduce, reuse, and recycle strategies. This approach not only offers the opportunity to improve business efficiency and save costs, but addresses environmental concerns associated with paper consumption.