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Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

Have you tried a Friday File Fling?

Out tray full of paper

My desk has a tray as full of paper as this one!

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My workplace gets pretty quiet this time of year. We’re at the stage of finishing off a lot of projects, and it’s rare that we start new ones until the new year.

I like to use this time to tidy my desk. Mostly this means getting rid of the large amounts of paper that everyone sends me! When we did the paperless billing challenge, I stopped printing out so many things at work as I realised how much waste is involved in making paper.

Now I prefer to use email for tasks and comments on Word and PDF documents to review content. But my boss and co-workers prefer to print everything out then give it to me, and it all seems to end it’s useful life on my desk!

So when I get a little free time next week, I’m going to sort through it all. This is my plan:

  1. make two piles: documents I need, and documents I don’t need anymore
  2. file the documents I need properly
  3. sort the documents I don’t need anymore into two piles: those printed on both sides, and those printed on one side
  4. the 'printed on both sides' pile goes into the bulk paper recycling bin for collection by the recycling service
  5. the 'printed on one side' pile gets neatly stacked, clean side up in small amounts, and stapled in the top-left corner. These make my notepads for the next year.

What do you think? If I can’t stop people sending me paper, at least I can make sure it gets really truly used up before it gets recycled. And I get a cleaner desk at the same time!

Recycling Australia suggests that offices have a Friday File Fling every now and then, just to make sure we're not letting useful paper gather dust. Does your workplace do paper recycling? I Googled “office paper recycling” and it seems like there are a lot of businesses that will supply you with bins and pick it up regularly.

Of course, it’s always best to make recycling your last option, rather than your first, but sometimes recycling is a good way to introduce your co-workers to environmental ideas.