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The City of Portland, Oregon

Sustainability at Work

Providing free tools and expertise to achieve your goals

Phone: 503-823-7037


Paper 101: We need to talk about the 4,000 elephants in the room

Did you know? Businesses in the Portland metro region are still throwing out 30,432 tons of paper each year.

That’s the equivalent of 4,000 elephants worth of paper going to the landfill!

4 elephants x 1,000 = tons of paper going to the landfill

Portland businesses continue to make great strides in reducing their paper use and making recycling easy for their staff – but there’s still more that can be done.

3 Steps to reduce paper waste:

1. Identify where your workplace uses paper:

  • Printers & copiers.
  • Paychecks.
  • Invoices – that you send and receive from others.
  • Other… don’t forget paper or packaging that others send to you.

2. Ask these questions for print projects, in this order of priority:

  • Can we reduce the amount of paper used?
  • Is the paper only printed on one side? Can we reuse it?
  • Is all waste paper getting recycled?

3. Maintain, improve and push the envelope:

  • Acknowledge and reinforce what’s working well.
  • Improve existing efforts that need attention.
  • Start new efforts [hint: try a pilot, people will be more likely to give it a go].