Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

The City of Portland, Oregon

Sustainability at Work

Providing free tools and expertise to achieve your goals

Phone: 503-823-7037


Preventing paper waste

Save money, reduce waste and engage your coworkers with these tips for reducing paper waste in the workplace. 


How can I reduce waste when printing?

Before printing:

  • Edit your document. Use the spelling and grammar check tool. Use Print Preview to check page breaks and avoid printing unwanted pages.
  • Reduce font size and margins. Reduce font size (within reason) and use Page Setup to adjust margins and layout to fit more words on a page.

When you print and copy:

  • Print double-sided. Set-up copiers and printers to print double-sided by default.
  • Place reminders at copiers with how-to instructions for copying double-sided.
  • Print multiple pages to a single sheet, when possible.
  • Print a test copy before printing multiple copies of a document.
  • Cancel print jobs. Learn how to cancel print jobs from both your computer and printer to reduce waste when you notice at mid-print that something is wrong.

Sharing documents

How can I share and file documents electronically? When I need to print, how can I minimize the number of copies?

  • Share documents electronically, through email or by posting them online.
  • Route one print copy of a document around the office. Pass it around and attach a list of who should see the document. 

File storage

How can I reduce paper when storing files?

  • File documents electronically. Save old files on disks, back-up hard drives, on a cloud-based server or on flash drives.
  • Create a central file for shared paper documents. This can save a lot of paper compared with duplicate personal files. 

Other paper reduction strategies

scratch paper bin

What else can I do? 

  • Reuse paper. Set up a scratch paper bin next to your printer or copier to collect reusable paper. Reuse paper printed on one side by printing drafts on the unused sides. (See example in photo.)
  • Reduce junk mail. Eliminate returned and duplicate addresses from outgoing mailing lists. Regularly update your mailing lists.
  • Convert your outgoing mailing list to an email list, if possible.
  • Use soy or other vegetable based ink. Veggie inks are less toxic than petroleum based inks. 

Need assistance or have other tips to share? Email us. Is your office successfully reducing paper? Let us know!

Quick links