EHS Management

Paperless Payoff: How Much Paper Is Costing You

The ‘Paperless Myth’

Going paperless is not about completely eliminating paper use. Realistically, that is not going to happen.

"Paperless" today really means using less paper, not completely eliminating it. The totally paperless office is not realistic, but the office that uses less paper is within reach.

Cool Paper Facts Worth Sharing with Your Employees

Helping workers visualize what saving paper really means will make your office paper-saving efforts more effective. 

Each ream equals 500 sheets or one package. One tree makes only about 17 reams of paper. So it takes 24 trees to make 1 ton of uncoated virgin paper (nonrecycled) printing and office paper.

But the manufacture, use, and waste of paper consumes more than just trees. In fact, it takes 390 gallons of oil to produce 1 ton of paper.

1 ton of paper equals 400 reams or 200,000 sheets of paper so you can imagine how it adds up quickly. And, you can also see how taking small steps to save paper can really reduce the amount of resources we use.

Deliver fast and effective Environmental, DOT, and OSHA training with Environmental Training Library. Try it at no cost or risk. For a limited time, also receive a free special report. Download Your Free Report


A ton of paper, when disposed of, takes up nearly 8 cubic feet of landfill space. Landfills are approximately 36 percent waste paper products.

Greenhouse Gases

Each ream of paper is responsible for 30.5 pounds of carbon dioxide. So, that ton of paper—400 reams—is responsible for over 12,000 lb of carbon dioxide.

This carbon dioxide comes from the manufacturing of paper. Pulp and paper mills are the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs) which includes carbon dioxide in the United States.

In addition, these pulp and paper mills are the source of more than 240,000 tons of toxic air pollutants.


Pulp and paper mills are also some of the worst water polluters in the world because they use chemicals to make the paper. Those pollutants are then disposed into waterways.

Reducing our paper use does not just save money–it also saves oil, keeps our waters cleaner, and puts less waste in our landfills.

Download your FREE special report, Hazwaste Container Management: Where EPA Inspectors Look First, and receive a 30-day trial of Environmental Training Library at no cost or obligation. Download Your Free Report

How Much is Paper Costing You?

Want to know how much money you’re spending on paper every year? Here’s a simple equation.

The average office worker uses approximately 12,000 sheets of paper per year, which equals 2 reams a month. Of these 12,000 sheets, an average of 6 pages a day are wasted, totaling an average of 1,410 pages per year—a waste of 10 percent of total paper consumption. Each wasted page costs 6 cents in paper costs, electricity for printing, and ink.

Therefore, the cost of the pages wasted by an average U.S. office worker equals $84.60 annually.

See tomorrow’s Advisor for easy tips on encouraging workers to reduce paper use at the desk, copier, and printer.

1 thought on “Paperless Payoff: How Much Paper Is Costing You”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.