According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average office worker in the US uses 10,000 sheets of paper, which comes out to 4 million tons of copy paper used annually. I want to share with you all the handy dandy Environmental Defense Fund Paper Calculator, which easily allows you to gauge your organization's environmental impact. To illustrate, let's take a look at the effect of 4 million tons of paper:
- Wood use: 14,784,000 tons
- Net Energy: 119,577,600 million BTU's
- Greenhouse Gases: 23,528,512,000 lbs CO2 equiv.
- Wastewater: 88,875,440,000 gallons
- Solid Waste: 7,634,848,000 pounds
I may not be very good with numbers, but something tells me that we could be a little nicer to the environment. At Andrew One Degree’s Blog, Andrew notes that 768 million trees are cut down per year just for paper production. He talks about the various savings of enterprise content management, one of which is your mom (as in, your Mother Nature). Check out what he has to say:
If you store documents electronically, in an electronic document management (ECM) solution, and then share and distribute them electronically, almost all of the costs above are removed from your organisation. You can enforce these savings by limiting who can print what content. This may sound “harsh” but often users are used to just printing files to read them, then bin them. This isn’t a good practice and is expensive to your organisation. Not only are there lots of savings to be made, remember that these savings automatically promote efficiency gains and additional productivity. With an ECM solution, your users can quickly access the documents all of the time.
By adopting ECM, you can help the environment and your business. The Paper Calculator is a great tool that tells you how much environmental harm you can prevent down to the BTU/gallon/ton by implementing an ECM solution. Try it out!