Being Mindful of your Paper Use

The My Sustainable Workplace learning community is actively exploring how to further decrease the amount of paper we use in our daily work at McGill, focusing on processes that require the use of paper. They have prepared a list of tips to reduce our own paper use.

1. Ask yourself why you are printing. 

Think about you and your team's printing habits and if you are printing because you always have. Instead of printing a document to file it into a filing cabinet, could the document be filed in your team's shared drive? If you have trouble reading smaller text on screen, could you use the zoom feature to increase the text size instead of printing the document to read it? Questioning the reasoning behind your printing choices can help determine if it is absolutely necessary and if there are paperless alternatives you can start adopting.

2. Use IT solutions to reduce the need for printing.

Use the track changes feature and the comment feature in Word to review and edit a document, instead of marking up a paper copy. Also, attend a Brown Bag Lunchtime Learning session offered by McGill IT. In these sessions, you can learn about how Outlook can help you track and organize emails (and not have to print the important ones), learn how to use Office 365 Forms instead of creating hard copies to fill out, and learn how D2 Content Management System can help you collaborate without passing paper documents around the office.

3. Paperless Meetings.

Providing an agenda by email beforehand prevents the need to print copies for everyone in the meeting. Encourage meeting attendees to bring their own device to take notes. Also, emailing documents in advance allows others to review them prior to the meeting and not require everything be printed. In the meeting, documents can be viewed on a screen for everyone to follow, or they can be viewed individually on each participants’ device.

4. Participate in McGill’s Sustainable Workplace Certification program.

By involving your office in the Sustainable Workplace Certification, you can learn new ways to reduce paper use as well as other ways to decrease the environmental impact of daily activities in your office. Click here to learn more.

If you have other suggestions on how to save paper, members of the My Sustainable Workplace learning community would like to hear from you. Send your suggestions to: mysustainableworkplace [at]

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