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Tips to Reduce Paper Usage At Home

written by: SemTeK•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 8/12/2010

We all know that by reducing our paper consumption we can help the environment. With modern technology a lot of paper can be saved. In the following article I'm going to show you how to get started and what to consider when reducing the amount of paper in your household.

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    Prepare your Computer to Scan and Backup Paper Documents

    Your PC needs two important items in order to help you reduce paper consumption. First, a scanner. This will enable you to transfer documents to your PC, so the paper version can be recycled.

    Secondly, you need to back-up your hard drive regularly, so you'll need a back-up solution. Some ISP's offer a back-up plan which copy's your files to their servers. You could also choose to back-up your files yourself. If so, you'll need to take a few things into account. Your backup is used to protect your data from a computer-crash, a fire, a natural disaster, etc. So the files need to be backed up to a removable disk that you store in a safe.

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    Ways to Reduce Paper Usage

    Electronic statements

    Many banks and creditcard companies offer the option of changing your paper statements to digital statements. These can be mailed to you, or downloaded from the bank's website.

    Automatic payment of bills

    Just think about how many bills you get each month. Most companies won't mind if you ask them to automate your payments. It saves them time, it saves you time and it reduces paper consumption.

    Scan and recycle incoming documents

    Anything else you receive each month can be scanned into your pc and then recycled. Watch out for legal documents, for instance the deed to your house. You need to keep the original of these documents for them to stay legal.

    Stop taking notes on paper

    I used to take notes on a large notepad, which would lead to consuming aproxomatly 300 sheets of paper a month. Now I use all my gadgets to take notes. By using a tool like Microsoft's OneNote or Evernote you can take notes on your PC, laptop and mobile phone. All of these notes can be synchronized so you have all of the notes in one place.

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    Tips on Making the Switch to Digital Methods

    Reducing your paper consumption is possible, but it requires a change in behavior. Your bank and credit card statements need to be regularly checked, incoming documents need to be scanned and given a logical and findable place on your hard-disk and if you take a lot of notes, switching to taking notes on your computer or mobile can take a lot of getting used to. Understand that it takes time and effort to make the switch from paper to digital. Find out what works for you and what gives you the biggest save in paper.