Submitted: The Two Sides Team January 14, 2013
Following a discussion with Holly about Googles “Go Paperless in 2013campaign, I decided to determine our own office paper costs, to see what the potential benefit would be, for a small business such as ourselves, to attempt such a feat.
January 10 2013, Map Printer
Following a discussion with Holly about Googles Go Paperless in 2013 campaign,
I decided to determine our own office paper costs, to see what the
potential benefit would be, for a small business such as ourselves, to
attempt such a feat. It would also help me see if we would be saving
the environment to do so. Mind you, almost all of what used to be paper
only is already digital, but rather than an either/or scenario, it has
evolved in our plant to frequently be both, as both have attributes that
make them more desirable for given situations.
Copy paper usage for 2012:
- 3 hole punched (used for reports) 13,400 sheets @ $7.80 per thousand $104.52
- Plain (used for copies, job instructions, invoices, shipping receipts, etc.,) 28,000 sheets @ $6.60 per thousand $184.80
Total yearly paper cost of $289.32. Along with this would be toner
cost, but it still represents a fraction of the cost to implement and
maintain over time a system of devices, software and training for
personnel to create a paperless workplace.
E-waste and Errors
The idea of providing terminals and software for every work station,
that normally would have a written job instruction to follow or a
written distribution list, is just absurd. What an incredibly expensive
and inefficient way to work, not to mention the endless scope for error
as suddenly everyone in the plant is responsible for keying in
important information. At least with paper everything we use gets
recycled. I cringe at the amount of e-waste we generate as it is. The
idea of doubling the size of that useless pile of devices is not a
Further, for us to go paperless our customers and suppliers would
have go paperless as well. Some of our largest customers pay
electronically but must be invoiced with hard copy including shipping
receipts from complex distributions.
Printed Paper is a Renewable Resource
Most importantly, I see that most of the wood pulp used in making paper in
North America is grown on small family owned parcels of land. If the
owners of those parcels can no longer occasionally and selectively log
their woods, with responsible forestry practices, they will have no
income to offset their property taxes. In the long run that means fewer
forests and more strip malls. If we want to increase the size of the
forests, then we need to increase the value of and demand for wood
products. Unlike electronic devices, trees are a renewable resource.
Last I heard that was a desirable trait.
So is the Google campaign just blatant greenwashing? Given that
there is no financial benefit and the alleged environmental benefits are
dubious at best, I would have to say yes. Im reminded of the Frank
Zappa album: Were Only In It For The Money. With nothing more
tangible, all they have to sell is smoke and mirrors.
Without a doubt the Google consortium have their heads in the
proverbial/digital cloud and I think I have a pretty good idea of what
kind of smoke that cloud is comprised of. I only hope theyre not using
the mirrors as well.