How Document Scanning Lessens Your Carbon Footprint

Light bulb drawing with recycling sign on crumpled recycled paper - Concept of ecology and recycling

Most companies these days are looking for better ways to “go green” or lessen their carbon footprint. It’s important that we all do our part to make a cleaner environment for generations to come. It’s for this reason that many companies are turning to scanning and cloud services to help reduce their paper waste and production. 

How Much Paper is Used in a Day?

Paper FilesThe answer to this question isn’t that simple. There are a number of factors to consider when trying to pin down an accurate figure. When we say “paper usage” we often think about business documents, newspapers, or even books. Perhaps unsurprisingly, toilet paper actually accounts for one of the largest paper consumption offenders. It’s estimated that toilet paper consumption accounts for 42 million tons each year. That’s enough to wrap the earth in paper 50,000 times.

When we’re discussing things like documents, newspapers, and most other applications, the figure comes closer to 63.5 billion pages per day. You can see why paper consumption is a cause for concern. This makes the need for recycling all the more important. 

Secure shredding is the best way to make sure that your old documents get recycled. Professional shredding operations have the capability of sorting through tons of paper and separating it by type. This allows recyclers to pick up bulk loads of pre-sorted materials from the shredders. Most shredded paper that is put into recycling bins ends up in landfills. Although your heart may be in the right place, it’s nearly impossible for recyclers to sort this material on such a small scale. Paper waste currently accounts for 26% of all trash in landfills.

Why Does Paper Produce So Much Greenhouse Gas?

Paper is indeed a renewable resource, but that’s only part of the story. Paper production itself can be tremendously harmful to the environment. Copious amounts of oil, water, and various other chemicals are needed to make the paper we use. To put that into perspective, a single piece of A4 printer paper requires 10 liters of water to produce. Sound like a lot? Now picture that the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets per year. Don’t forget about those disposable coffee cups either. It’s estimated that a single office worker goes through about 500 of those each year as well.

The production itself is the biggest offender for greenhouse gas production. The process can be broken down into five steps:Carbon offset compensation scheme to reduce emissions by volcanoes, CO2 greenhouse gas plants.vector. carbon absorption by trees, photosynthesis and dissolution in water. biochemical system slogan CO2

  1. First, the trees and lumber must be sourced and harvested. This requires fuel, tools, vehicles, and manpower to access.
  2. Next is the pulping process. Machines or chemicals break down the lumber in order to make new paper.
  3. Transportation is the next component. Paper is produced all over the world, and conversely the raw materials following the pulping process are shipped all over the world.
  4. Next is that actual production phase. These raw materials are turning into everything from food wrappers to printer paper. This requires fuel, machinery, water, as well as dyes and chemicals. 
  5. Last, is the disposal process. Once the paper has been used, it can be recycled, but unfortunately much of this paper waste will end up in landfills.

Why is Paper Consumption Increasing?

pile of archive papersYou may be wondering how paper usage is still so prevalent when so many new technologies exist. This is also a bit more complicated to answer. While Many companies are in fact moving to paperless technologies, some industries just don’t have that luxury. In addition to that, toilet paper and food packaging isn’t going anywhere any time soon. 

It’s not just offices that are creating this waste. A shocking statistic estimates that even with these emerging technologies, paper consumption has increased 400% over the past 40 years. Globalization, industrialization, and growing populations all play their part. It’s estimated that as much as 50% of industrial logging will be used for paper production in the near future.

How Can Document Scanning Help Solve This Problem?

Record Nations Document Scanning ResourcesEven if you’re not concerned about the environment, the cost of paper can be difficult to ignore. Some professional estimates state that U.S. companies spend around $120 million annually on printed documents. This is where scanning and cloud services come into play.

In addition to lessening your paper waste and production, these services make finding and storing documents infinitely easier. It’s estimated that it costs about $20 to properly file and store a single document. The same study finds that it costs $120 to find an improperly filed document, and $220 to recreate it. 

On the other hand, scanning documents costs aroundHow to price out a scanning project. 7-12 cents per page. Once that document is scanned into a digital format, it can be sent and edited an unlimited amount of times. The cost of filing also becomes non-existent. Lost and misplaced documents will no longer be a problem, since your documents can be indexed and searched using almost any document management system. 

As if those perks weren’t enough, most consumers are looking to support companies that align with their values on good environmental practices. A recent study by Unilever found that 87% of consumers are more likely to purchase products from companies that adhere to green practices. While 76% of consumers said they would refuse products or services from companies that do not. Those figures could affect your bottom line. 

Record Nations Can Help With Any Scanning Project

Record Nations has a nationwide network of professional partners to help your scanning project get off the ground. You can watch several of our video interviews on how this process has streamlined business processes HERE and HERE. When you’re ready to get your scanning project started Give us a call at (866) 385-3706, fill out the form on this page, or click the live chat button. Our representatives will put you in touch with scanning professionals ready to tackle even the biggest scanning projects. Don’t lose another file or customer due to antiquated filing practices. Call us today.