Go Paper-less with new free software



paper stacki

Credit: iStockphoto

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Businesses and individuals can now easily monitor their paper use with the launch of a free software program by environment organisation Do Something.

Each year, Australians use 1.7 million tonnes of printing and writing paper, and each government employee uses an average of 9,300 sheets of office paper.

"We're calling on businesses to make a bigger effort in switching their customers and suppliers to electronic billing," said Jon Dee, founder of Do Something. "Emailing bills and invoices instead of posting them is just one way businesses can save money as well as the environment."

The campaign aims to show the real cost of paper to business. "The cost of paper is not just the paper itself," Dee said. "There's also the cost of printing, copying, packing, posting, storing, filing, finding and disposing of paper. Research shows that this can cost many times the cost of the paper itself".

Cutting back on posting hard copy letters would also help reduce the burden on our postal system, which generated 366,990 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions in 2007-2008.

The software is available for individuals to upload to their PCs and is in the form of a widget that visually tracks how many pages are printed from the computer. The business version tracks and logs paper use throughout the company and can drill down to individual employees to see who are the best and worst paper users.

A pro version of the software is also available.

Big companies such as Adobe and computer manufacturer Toshiba have got on board.

Toshiba will include the Paper-less program in the software suite on its computers.

"The Toshiba Australia Electronic Imaging Division is proud to be a founding partner and sponsor of such a worthwhile initiative as the Paper-Less Alliance," said spokesperson Garry Pendleton. "When people ask why would a company that manufactures the very product that helps to churn so much paper into the environment wish to be involved, the answer is quite simple. Toshiba accepts it has a significant responsibility to uphold our own corporate social responsibility and in doing so feel this initiative is a perfect vehicle for us to help educate people how to get better use out of our products and, importantly, in ways that can not only improve their workflow processes but in doing so also reduce the amount of printing they do."

In recent years, Adobe has moved further into the electronic document world, creating ways for users to collaborate on the same live document.

"Any time a business can remove a paper form or collaborate electronically helps improve their efficiency and reduce costs, with the added benefit of reducing paper usage," said Adobe spokesperson Calum Russell.

The software is available at