I know that most of you are going to be saying, “You have got to be kidding me.” “What a liberal!,” I may hear. Please, don’t rush to some judgement too awful quickly. I am about as anti-environmentalist as they come. I don’t believe in the slightest bit that government should make us “green,” or be forced to be more earth friendly, at our expense. That rhetoric is about as anti-freedom as you can get.
Nonetheless, I have been pondering the whole idea of less paper for the last few months, and am a firm believer. I am not a believer because it makes me feel good to be earth friendly–that’s not even on my mind. I am a believer because of two main things: cost and clutter.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am a despiser of paper clutter. It seems that between Andrea and I, we collect a stack of about 30 pieces of paper a week–not even counting mail. I would say that 80 percent of that is thrown away within a few days (actually, it ends up in the recycle bin–just because we have to).
Yes we have a printer. How often do we print? Very little. I really do try to avoid it if I can. Now, I do print Sunday School lessons and sermons pretty regularly. Guess what, though? I print double-sided. I love that feature! It saves on both of the c’s: cost and clutter. If I have a two page lesson, then it is very easy to print on both sides. Most printers have that feature, but I don’t think that many people use it. In fact, newer printers have an automatic double-sided option built-in–so you don’t have to flip the pages after one side is printed. I can’t stand it when I have a two page lesson on two pages! I can instead, very easily, print on both sides, cut the clutter, and I guess it even saves a little too.
I also try to have all of my bills delivered paperless too. Again, it cuts the clutter, and makes the whole payment process simpler: I get an email, pay the bill with and e-check, and get a receipt. That is so much better and more efficient than having to wait for the bill in the mail, hoping it doesn’t get lost in the clutter, open it, throw away the envelope, write a check, get a stamp, write out another envelope, and mail it. I still have to do that with one bill. Side note: please go paperless, Penn Waste!
I see the future being even more efficient. If I were a teacher, I think I would lean toward reports being emailed or given to me with a USB drive, rather than printing a stack of one-sided, double-spaced papers to turn in. I feel for some of my former college teachers with 20+ students in a class, having to haul a stack of seven page reports home to grade. I think it could be made easier and more cost-effective to use Microsoft Word’s or Adobe Acrobat’s extensive proofing and markup abilities, and send it back graded that way. Maybe someday this could be more common. One thing I do have to admit: I never once typed my notes in college. I have a bunch of notebooks in my closet, which are harder to access, search, and re-read than having digital copies of them. I regret not typing them a little; but then again, I never had a laptop in school.
I concur that I have not gotten into the Kindle/iPad/eReader fad. I think that eBooks are a good idea, but I still like, and will continue to like real books much more than books on an electronic device. Someday, I might try reading a good non-fiction book on one, but for now, I am a real book person. If you don’t believe me, just look at our home library.
One other point: There is absolutely no reason to buy recycled printing paper; whether it be 50%, 75%, or 100%. Go to the store and check the prices. The recycled paper is more expensive, by several dollars a ream! Now, why would one want to waste their money on less quality and higher price? No…wait. It will make you feel good. May even that feel-goodiness will help clean up that oil spill in the gulf. Not!!! I say light it up, and let it burn! I would rather pay to see a good fire show at the beach in Mobile, than pay an extra $4.00 for Lean Green Junk 100% Recycled paper. Good day!