Green Living: Green Living Guides

How to Create a Smart Paper Plan for Your Business

A smart paper program -- practices that help your company conserve, recycle and buy environmentally preferable paper -- is good for business and the environment. But how do you really make it happen in your office? First, use this memo to get senior management on board. Then, get your staff involved and invested in developing a plan that works for your business by creating a Smart Paper Team representing various units of your organization.

The Smart Paper Team should:

  • meet to discuss group goals and priorities;
  • gather information on all the ways paper is used, purchased and disposed of in your company;
  • provide recommendations to senior management on how to improve paper use and procurement;
  • help implement changes by creating signs and other reminders for staff;
  • monitor how well the plan is working.

Your Smart Paper Team knows your office. They can use the documents in this toolkit to help design a smart paper program that's customized to your workplace.

Sample Memo Re: Developing a Smart Paper Plan (Microsoft Word)
Get senior management on board with your plan to rethink paper use in the office.

Office Paper Use Questionnaire (Microsoft Word)
Use this questionnaire to assess current practices in your office and find out where there's room to improve.

Paper Reduction Worksheet (Excel)
Start off with simple paper reduction strategies like these, which don't need any budget or approval from the top. Edit the spreadsheet and add your own strategies to create a customized plan for your office.

NRDC's Smart Paper Office Practices (PDF)
Here's a look at how we did it -- please steal our ideas.

Sample Signs
NRDC's New York eco-committee created these signs to help our New York office follow the new guidelines.

Sample Paper Procurement Policy (PDF)
NRDC worked with a major printing company to develop these guidelines, which they now use to inform their paper purchasing.

Paper Supply Verification Form (Microsoft Word)
Use this form to find out if your supplier is really providing you with environmentally friendly paper.

Guide for Businesses
  Why Do It?
  Success Stories
» Toolkit

Guide for Consumers
Learn More
The Paper Business, Present and Future

Paper Industry Overview

last revised 9.19.06

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