NIH Mindful Printing Campaign

Documents to assist you to become paper free!

What can you do to reduce paper use?

Consider changing your policies:

  • Adopt a "Double-Sided" Policy. Consider adopting an organizational policy that will ensure all individual documents are printed on both sides of the page.
  • Adopt Electronic Processes. Consider identifying paper-intensive administrative processes and instead implement electronic forms and automate processes.

Consider not printing:

  • Send Information Electronically. Use e-mail for forms, document transmittals and faxes. Think carefully before printing electronic information. Organize and save it so it is easy to look up. This way you won't need to make hard copy files of important information. Contact your help desk for guidance on safely backing up your electronic files.

Consider changing how you print:

  • Set Computer Defaults to Print Double-Sided. Set up computer software for default two-sided printing including word processing, spreadsheets, electronic mail, and others.
  • Preview Documents Before Printing. Proofread documents on screen before printing. Don't forget to use the speller/grammar function to detect errors.
  • Print Only the Pages You Need. Consider printing only the pages you need. Most software programs provide this option under the print function. Why print the whole document if you only need one chapter?

Consider changing how you copy:

  • Practice Preventive Copier Maintenance. Keep copiers and printers in good repair and make it policy to only buy copiers and printers that make reliable double-sided copies. Let your copier maintenance person know when a copier is performing poorly (toner is low, jams frequently, etc.). Regular copier maintenance is important, especially if the toner is low. Many times copiers are used until all the toner is gone and that wears down machines. A copier that works well is less likely to jam and this helps save paper!
  • Fill Copier Trays Correctly. Before filling a copier paper tray, check the label on one end of the paper ream package. Look for an arrow pointing up and the words "copy this side first." Put the paper in the copier so that this side is facing up. This will reduce jams. Note that when a paper ream does not have a label with arrows, you can perform a simple test to see which way the paper should be inserted. Hold the stack of paper at each end and note how it flops down. Turn the paper over and note again how it flops down. The side that has the greatest flop, or curve, faces upward in the paper tray.
  • Route Memos and Newsletters. Instead of making a copy for each person, route one copy around the office. Ask originators to send fewer copies to your office.

Consider changing how you create documents:

  • Format Standard Forms for Paper Reduction. Reduce and double-side standard forms. When possible, automate standard forms as templates. Electronic forms are easier to use and eliminate the need for blank hard copy forms.
  • Shorten Documents. Make your writing as clear and concise as possible. Use smaller fonts or margins, but be careful not to compromise readability.
  • Use Revision Features in Word Processing Software. Take advantage of onscreen editing features when making changes to draft documents, then send the new draft electronically.

Consider reusing paper:

  • Provide Trays to Collect and Reuse One-Sided Paper. Encourage employees to save and reuse paper printed on only one side at their desks.
  • Provide Trays to Collect and Reuse Envelopes and File Folders. Encourage reuse of large envelopes and file folders by providing centrally located trays for their collection.

And when all else fails, RECYCLE!!

Evaluate Your Paper Reduction Measures
See how well you’re doing with this checklist, and remember: “Think before you print!”

  • Use, transmit, and store documents electronically instead of in hard copy format
  • Evaluate routine processes and switch to electronic when possible
  • Use double-sided printers and copy machines
  • Set computer defaults to double-sided printing
  • Require double-sided copying for all reports, etc.
  • Print only the page range needed rather than the entire document
  • Set up a “reuse room” for reusable office supplies like folders, binders, etc.
  • Keep used paper near printers to use for drafts, internal memos, etc.
  • Reuse office scrap paper for scratch pads
  • Reduce the default width of margins in Microsoft Word
  • Shorten documents when possible with smaller fonts and less white space
  • Post agendas or information on shared drives instead of handing out copies at meetings
  • Use laptops instead of paper to take notes at meetings
  • Return unwanted magazines to source with request to discontinue mailings
  • Purge mailing lists to eliminate duplication
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