Working collaboratively to promote sustainable practice across the legal sector

GreenThemes: Paper

07 July 2013 4:30 PM | Anonymous member

GreenThemes: Paper

In this issue
~   Paper Management Survey ~  Saving Paper at home
~  Paper facts and Resources ~
 AusLSA Events
 Environmental Impacts of Paper
In 1975, the head of FujiXerox Research predicted that the Paperless Office would be the norm within 20 years (ref). Nearly 40 years on, the introduction of electronic documents has merely fuelled the use of paper (one recent report calculated an annual growth rate of 25% for paper use by an average company).

In the Australian legal sector, each person uses an average of 122kg of paper each year (and that is down by 11% since 2010!). See the AusLSA Report. 

While there are definite advantages to using paper and there are also impacts from greater use of electronic devices, there is clearly scope for the legal sector to use less paper. Australian government employees use nearly 3 times less paper than legal!

So with the start of our Paper focussed GreenTheme, here are some tips, facts and resources to help you start reducing paper at your firm. 

Paper Management Survey
  • How does your firm manage and monitor paper practices? 
  • Do you print double-sided by default or by choice? 
  • Is the electronic file the file of record? What document management software do you use? 
  • Where is your firm on the path to paperless?
The AusLSA Paper Management Survey is 11 quick questions that will provide insight into the common paper practices at Australian law firms. 

  • Have you changed a paper practice at your firm?
  • Have you introduced a paper change that you our proud of?
Tell AusLSA and let us share it with others!

Paper facts and resources

Financial impacts   Using less paper saves money. 
Switching to double-sided printing can reduce your paper bills by up to 40%. But did you know that the actual costs of using paper can be 10 TIMES the cost of purchasing paper because you will also be reducing:
  • Printer and copy inks and toners
  • Printer wear and tear
  • Associated stationery like folders
  • Storage space in the office and archiving
  • Postage costs
  • Manual handling costs, including in the office and retrieval from archiving. 
Environmental Impacts  
On average, each tonne of paper removed from commercial correspondence saves (ref):
  • 18 trees
  • 67,500 litres of water
  • 9,500 kWh of power
  • 3,300 kg of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e)
 Useful websites  
Print and post these messages to encourage your colleagues to think twice. 

AusLSA Paper Posters
Each person in the legal sector uses 122kg paper. Do you really need to print that?

World Wildlife Fund
Save Paper Save money Save Forests
Environmental Impacts of Paper    How to minimise
Climate Change
The paper industry contributes 9% of total global carbon dioxide emissions derived from manufacturing and is often cited as the fourth largest industrial user of energy.

Paper manufacturing also produces other greenhouse gases like Sulphur and Nitrogen oxides. 

Carbon Neutral Paper Paper made from virgin pulp can be produced with zero net emissions from offsetting or if waste from the manufacturing processes is used to fuel the paper mill. 

Look for manufacturers that have certified Environmental Management Systems (EMS) and publish Sustainability Reports. 

Harvesting wood to produce paper inevitably impacts on wildlife and ecosystems.

Producing pulp and paper involves significant volumes of water which can allow pollutants to enter water systems. 

Harvesting wood can also impact on water catchments areas. 

  Paper made from recycled content or other waste reduces the need for pulp from forests. 

One of the aims of good forestry management is to minimise their impacts on water catchments and animals. Look for FSC  (Forestry Stewardship Council) labelled products. 

Again look for paper producers that have an EMS and publish reports on the sustainability of their practices. 

When paper products end up in landfill they have a greater impact on the environment than if they were burned. When paper breaks down in landfill it produces methane, which is 23 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

  Make sure that all your paper products enter recycling waste streams. 

Increase the value of recycled products and thereby encourage more recycling by purchasing more products made from recycled paper. 

Saving paper at home                
Get a free 'No Junk Mail' sticker Add your address to the
 'Do not mail' list
Get the catalogue not the paper
     5 August  Discussion on e-filing and document management systems
     Sydney  7 August Let's talk about paper certifications, brands and environmental issues
    Brisbane 19 August General paper discussion and an opportunity to take a look at Telepresence 

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