Paperless is a term that is used to describe a situation or a place, such as an office, that doesn’t use paper, usually due to the usage of computers. Although paper is still used extensively, due to technology it is not used as widely as it once was. There are many examples of how the world is becoming “more paperless”.
An Office Environment
Originally offices were full of paper. The only way of recording anything in physical form was by using a pencil and paper. The invention of the typewriter became a hugely important moment in the productivity of office work but it didn’t do anything to reduce the amount of paper that was used. Things have been much different over the last decade or two. Computers have taken over and you won’t find an office without them these days. While documents do sometimes need to be printed out, this is more often not the case. Email has become the most widely used form of communication within businesses and in dealing with customers and other companies. This saves on paper compared with sending a letter, which may previously have been required.
Many of us receive local newsletters through our front doors. Newsletter communication, however, is now often done via emails. Documents, including an entire newsletter, can be attached to an email and read on the computer screen. If an organisation is sending out three-thousand newsletters each with twelve pages, then that adds up to thirty-six thousand pages. If this is sent on a monthly basis then that is four-hundred-and-thirty-two-thousand pages a year. If this is sent via email instead then that is a lot of paper saved. And that is only one monthly newsletter from one organisation. Although some may print newsletters out, the majority won’t.
Magazines and Newspapers
Magazines and newspapers are still printed in large numbers in the traditional form and sold through outlets such as newsagents and supermarkets. Increasing numbers, though, are choosing to read up on news online – either through official newspaper or magazine websites or through other sites – so less paper is being used through these mediums.
Although still in its infancy, reading books via kindles is becoming more popular. Benefits from a consumer’s point of view include only having to carry a small device, which is especially convenient if travelling with several books. In the long run this could have a significant impact on how many books are printed, while authors will still be making their money through sales in a different way.
There are numerous ways in which we are, as a whole, becoming less reliant on paper, with the above just some of the more obvious ones. The rise of email is a key reason for this with banks emailing statements to customers rather than printing and sending them via post, advertisers emailing potential customers instead of producing “junk mail”, and in some circumstances receipt being email. Other ways in which paper is being saved includes insurance documents and instruction manuals being available online. This is having a positive impact on the environment and means people aren’t left having to store endless numbers of important documents.
Andrew Marshall ©
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