How to Live in a Paperless World

Friday, March 29, 2019 by The eFax Team

Here’s a staggering statistic.

Every year, U.S. office workers produce approximately 1.6 trillion pieces of paper. If you stacked all that paper up – the paper printed, the paper faxed, the paper photocopied – it would reach halfway to the moon.

You’re probably thinking, “Why haven’t we have moved past paper by now?”

The answer to your question is that unfortunately, business processes change slowly. Paper is cheap and people like using it. In fact, in many offices, 60% of paper use is required printing.

Now for some good news!

With the increase in environmental awareness and the rise of tablets, mobile devices, and cloud-based tools such as Microsoft Office and Google Docs, paper use is finally starting to decline. According to The Wall Street Journal, there has been a steady decrease of 1-2% in office use of paper per year. As of 2016, we were 10% below the number of pages produced in 2007.

You can contribute to the paperless movement too, both at the office and at home. Here are some tips for how to live in a paperless world.


1. Books

Do you love to read but want to reduce your environmental impact?

Instead of reaching for a book on the shelf, purchase an e-book instead. E-books are easier for storage and travel, and many of them have awesome features. With the Kindle, you can annotate, highlight and share passages without ruining a book. You don’t have to worry about bent pages, losing your place, or not being able to read in the dark. It will even tell you how much of your chapter or book is left, and how long it will take you to read it.

Students can go paperless too by purchasing online copies of textbooks. Nothing is worse than getting to the library or class and realizing that you’ve forgotten a book at home. By going paperless, you can more easily keep track of your materials and lighten your backpack load.


2. Photos

Do you feel like you’re drowning in stacks of paper photos?

Try using cloud storage or an external hard drive instead. Not only will this free up tons of space in your home, but it will also make it easier for you to keep track of your photos and to share them with other devices and people. Also, if there’s ever an emergency, your photos will be stored safe and sound.

Want to reduce stress around the holidays? Email a PDF of your holiday card photos and letter instead of mailing paper ones. Not only will this help the environment, but it will save you so much time and energy during one of the craziest times of the year.


3. Travel

Traveling can be hectic, but going paperless can ultimately save you time and reduce stress.

If you check in online, you can avoid long lines at the airport and download your mobile boarding pass directly onto your smartphone instead of printing it. Apps like WalletPasses (for Android users) and Wallet (for iOS users) enable you to store your boarding pass for easy access on your phone. With these apps, your boarding pass will automatically update with any changes regarding your flight, so you don’t have to worry about frantically checking for delays or gate changes.


4. Notes and Reminders

 People are forgetful, and most of us need notes or reminders in order to keep track of everything. Instead of reaching for a paper solution, try using an app instead.

Experiment with apps like Notes, GoodNotes, or EverNote instead of carrying around a clunky paper notebook. Take advantage of your built-in smartphone, Outlook, or Google Suite Calendar instead of using a paper planner. Want to keep track of your work at the office? Try using a task manager like Asana instead of sticky notes.

Going paperless will ultimately make all of your notes and reminders more accessible and helpful.


5. Receipts

Do you save receipts for business purposes? Clear out the clutter by using an app that turns your receipts into data instead.

Apps like Shoeboxed digitize and archive your receipts into one secure location. You can manage your receipts with accurate mileage tracking using your phone’s GPS, and you can take receipt images on-the-go. Shoebox lets you send expense reports with receipt images, and it has a business card management tool that replaces traditional business cards with an online database of contacts. This is a small way to go paperless that will make your life a lot easier.


6. Documents

Tired of the stacks of paper and trips to the printer or fax machine? By going paperless, you can manage and access your documents much more effectively.

Say goodbye to the piles of paper by scanning your files instead of keeping paper copies. Make sure to set up a consistent system for labeling and scanning your files so that you can navigate your digital folders easily. Store your archived documents on an external hard drive, or use online backup sites. Cloud storage enables you to easily share files between devices and access them anytime and anywhere.

For businesses that need to send and receive information securely, an old fax machine can be replaced with an online fax provider like eFax. With eFax’s email-to-fax service, you can send a fax safely and securely online without using paper or a fax machine. Add cover sheets and use the electronic signature feature to sign documents digitally without printing them. Need to fax on-the-go? There’s also eFax’s award-winning mobile fax app for both iOS and Android.


Let’s Work Toward a Paperless Future

Going paperless is not just important and possible. Clearly, it can make your life so much easier too!

Whether it’s as small as downloading your mobile boarding pass or as big as storing your documents online, there are so many ways to reduce paper use.

Together, we can all contribute to a paperless world.

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The eFax Team - *

The eFax team is here to assist businesses by providing them with unmatched customer service and content to help them succeed. We are the world’s #1 online fax service, and we have been for nearly 20 years.