Wednesday, January 11, 2012


The following article was published in The Arabian Sun Vol. LXVII, No. 13, a Saudi Aramco weekly newsletter.
One day, I asked our hardworking janitor about the amount of garbage he collects in a day from our building.  Approximately, it ranges an average of 7 kilos of trash bags which most of them are paper materials like thick reports in A3 and A4 sizes, folded or crumpled newsletter, shredded documents and paper cups.  From these data I can conclude that office cannot run without papers. 

In my points of view, a paperless environment in the office is still impossible even at this point of our modern age.  We have to admit that in some offices, there are still situations that documents and reports are just necessary to have hard copy for record and file.  And in some cases, our work is easier if we are working on with hard copy rather than on soft copy. 

This reality results us to have thick and huge storage of papers in our desks and filing room.  And unconsciously we are eventually contributing waste and harm to our environment.  However I came to realize that if it is not possible to have a full paperless office environment, we can still possibly control to increase these bunches of papers in our office. 

I would like to share personal opinion which I am trying to apply in life.  Trusting that I may somehow encourage some readers and together we become partner to take care the environment:

1. Let us consider first the environment before printing any documents by asking ourselves if it is really important and necessary to print.  There are already million tons of paper wastes we put in the dump, let us not contribute more with these unnecessary paper copies.

2. If it is unavoidable to print, then you may consider saving it later for more usage.  You may keep them for a while for recycling purpose by using the other side of it when reproducing or printing new documents for internal use.  You just need to cross out the original print and choose only those not confidential in nature.

3. Go back to your filing room and check those boxes of old files that are ready for disposal or destroy.  Some of them can be reuse instead of shipping them for disposal.

4. Practice the electronic services which are time and cost saving methods, boost productivity, save space, easier documentation and keep personal information more secure.  Digitizing paper-based documents such as E-8000, e-leave and even e-publication and e-card are major breakthrough that greatly reduced paper works and materials.

5. Maximize the Digital Multifunction System machine (DMS) which not only photo copies and prints but can faxes and scans.  It avoids having to discard the hard copies making the office closer towards the paperless office environment.

6. Initiate paperless policies in your office because doing this all alone by yourself will not greatly impact to your paperless target.  Set up time lines and milestones so that eventually your entire office is almost paperless.

Turning your office into a paperless workplace can help you reduce waste and cost, benefit the environment and eliminate the clutter on your desk and filing cabinets.  Papers are biodegradable products but if we dump them in large volume will somehow harm our environment.  Actually, it is in a rare occasion I use the Aramco paper cups when I am taking a cup of coffee or tea and I have my seven-year old mug instead - this is a simple gesture of my warm support to the paperless office world.

By Alex V. Villamayor
Dhahran, KSA
January 8, 2012

No comments: