Going Paperless in the Office - Fax Paper Waste

Each year more than 210 billion sheets of paper are used in fax machines in the United States alone, according to Tech Soup. The impact that all that paper has on the planet is profound when you consider that the faxing needs of an average-sized company in the United States requires four full-grown trees worth of paper.

Clearly, cutting back on faxing is one of the most important ways that you can bring the paperless revolution to your workplace. Here's some tips on ways to reduce faxing paper waste.

1. Sign up for an Internet faxing service. If you only fax a few items per day, you can take advantage of Fax Zero, which will allow you to upload and fax 5 documents every 24 hours. This cuts back on the number of fax confirmations forms that print from your machine. Other pay services allow you to both send and receive faxes through your email, so that you can print only the documents that you really need to have in paper form.

2. Ditch the fax cover sheets. Whenever possible, don't send along a cover sheet. If you know the receiver is expecting your fax, ask them if it's alright if you don't include one so that you can cut back on paper waste. As an added bonus, this may make them start to think about the impact of the paper waste associated with faxing.

3. Convert to one-page memos. In some companies, memos have to be sent via fax rather than email. If you're not already using one, create a document that has a space for your name, the date and the subject of the memo in a header with room at the bottom to type your message.

4. Learn to create PDFs. Programs like Adobe make creating PDF documents incredibly easy. Once you learn how to make a PDF, you'll find that there's many times that you can email something to a contact instead of relying on the fax machine.

5. Recycle! Sometimes you just won't be able to avoid sending or receiving a fax, so be sure to recycle all of the unneeded paper that makes its way across your fax machine, as well as the other used paper in your office. If you don't have one, invest in a shredder so that even private documents can be properly recycled.

How do you cut back on faxing at work? Any other thoughts on how to go paperless in your office? Share your ideas with us!

2 Responses


September 03, 2012

Hi Clark, thanks for your comments! You are very right – using fax cover sheets as scrap paper for to-do lists is a much better alternative than just simply throwing it away. If you can’t convince your office to stop using cover sheets then using them as to-do lists before recycling them is the next best thing.


September 02, 2012

You can take “used” FAX covers and other single-sided printed pages and cut them in half to make 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 inch sheets of “scratch paper” for To Do Lists, math calculations, phone numbers, etc.

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