UPDATED: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 2:38pm
(StatePoint) Want to go green this Earth Day? One great area to focus on this year is reducing, reusing and recycling the paper waste you generate.
In America alone, we use about 71 million tons of paper a year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
But with a few tweaks to your daily routine, you can reduce your contributions to this problem. Here are some key ways to eliminate your paper clutter:
Whether you're looking to live more sustainably, or simply want a tidier desk, you're in luck -- new tools are making it easier to organize more of life digitally.
For example, a new free tool for saving and organizing your online life called Clipboard, almost completely eliminates the need for a printer. By saving and sharing content online, you can ditch paper travel itineraries, boarding passes, schedules, recipes, check lists, book lists, articles and more, while preserving the visual look, feel and style of the original item. It even includes links and videos.
Services like Clipboard are growing in popularity for good reason. It surpassed 100,000 registered users in December 2012, yielding an average month-over-month growth rate of 40 percent for 15 months since its private beta launch in October of 2011.
"Clipboard makes it easier to organize valuable content -- cutting down significantly on traditional paper methods and ensuring all vital information is safely organized all in one place, said Gary Flake, CEO and founder of Clipboard. "Using a service like Clipboard is an extremely quick and easy way to go green for Earth Day." More information on how to organize, collaborate and share online can be found at www.Clipboard.com.
We can't control all the paper that enters our homes and workplaces. From junk mail to flyers to memos, we can make better use of the paper waste created by others. Reuse all the junk as scrap paper. Keep a stack by your telephone and bedside to quickly jot down thoughts and notes.
If you're crafty, consider repurposing excess paper into useful and decorative objects. From origami to wrapping paper to gifts, source your own imagination or get ideas online for ways to reuse excess paper.
Producing recycled paper takes 40 percent less energy than producing paper from virgin wood pulp, according to Keep America Beautiful (KAB). And while KAB statistics show that paper recycling is on the rise, Americans still threw away $2.8 billion worth of paper in 2010.
While you may already be doing the right thing, you can encourage your colleagues and family to follow suit by making recycling as easy as possible for them. Install clearly-labeled recycling bins anywhere paper waste is generated. By the mail center, under each desk and anywhere there is a regular waste basket. Spread the word about the benefits of recycling by sharing these impressive statistics and other tips you can find at www.kab.org.
When it comes to paper waste, turn your mountain into a mole hill this Earth Day.