Reducing your printing

Cutting down on printing

The green agenda is everyone’s agenda.  Reading in Friday’s Irish Times paper about HP’s effort to up the recycling content in its cartridges reminds me of how much I have been able to reduce my own printing output in the last number of months.

I have become completely fed up with the idea of receiving a document or a link to a document, downloading it from mail or the internet, printing it out, reading it and binning it or having to find a home for it.  Apart from the obvious waste (ink, paper) the inefficiency and delays in all of this have been annoying me.

In the last number of months I have deliberately tried to review more documents online and capture my thoughts re the documents online.  I have used products such as Posterous and Google’s side wiki to comment where I want to do so publicly, I have kept notes using products including EverNote.  I have added research links and documents to Zotero.  I also use Google Reader and this blog.

My professional training with a large accounting firm provided me with a disciplined approach for reviewing documents, marking up comments, reviewing revised drafts.  In the 80’s this was a paper based exercise.  I have found now working with various word processing packages all of this can be done more effectively online – so long as you know how to use the product and the various features designed to track and report changes.

I have often heard people comment that ‘I can’t review this without printing it out’.  I, for one, have changed my view on this.  Now I generally  prefer to review documents online.  I do think however that those creating documents for review may want to think through their approach to facilitate online review.

So while I would welcome initiatives by companies such as HP to up the green factor in their products I suspect the real way forward is to reduce the volume of printing.  Anyway, if you want to run your business in the cloud then there seems very little sense in carrying around mountains of paper.

Author: Barry OGorman

Barry O'Gorman is an independent business and IT consultant, based in Dublin, Ireland.

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