Companies and public sector organisations in the UK are using up to 50 per cent more paper than they need to - resulting in more than 225,000 tonnes of wasted paper every year, a local business expert has claimed.
Richard Blundell, managing director of Warwickshirebased Software Partners, a supplier of business software, says that companies could save themselves thousands of pounds each year - and do their bit for the environment - by a relatively small investment in print management and pdf creation software.
"Currently, the paperless office is a very distant vision for most British businesses," said Mr Blundell.
"Many people still swear by the need for hard copies, but it is not just the sheer number of documents which are printed, but the way these are formatted and set out which leads to wastage and unnecessary cost. There is no need, for example, for every document to be printed out single-sided in A4 format.
"And while wasted paper can be recycled, it would be far better, and more cost-effective for the organisation, if it had not been used in the first place."
He continued: "There is now software on the market, compatible with the vast majority of printers, which allows users to preview pages, rearrange them as a booklet - printed A5 and double-sided for further weight savings - and add watermarks, page numbers and even a company letterhead before printing, meaning not just lower paper use but further savings on external print costs.
"Meanwhile, modern pdf creation products are able to convert files from most common formats like Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, into pdf files, meaning files that were previously too large or unstable to be transmitted by email can now be safely sent in the knowledge that the recipient will see exactly what the sender intends.
"And because the software for reading pdfs is freely available to download from the internet, there is no reason why anyone with internet access cannot use it.
"Major savings in particular are being achieved by accounts departments previously used to issuing invoices by post, who now attach a pdf copy to an email.
"Now that these invoices can be saved as pdfs and emailed, not only are all the postage costs removed, but paper and envelopes are no longer needed, with less printer ink used and less wear and tear on printers.
"In addition, thousands of invoices can be archived on a single CD for secure off-site storage and searched through in seconds."
Mr Blundell also said: "While the truly paperless office may be a little way off yet, there is no reason why companies should not do their bit for the environment, make their own lives easier, and save themselves a significant amount of money into the bargain, through investing in print management and pdf creation software."
* For further information on FinePrint print management software and pdfFactory pdf creation software, visit software-partners.co.uk