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3 ELIMINATE SHORT-TERM PAPER WASTE

This action focuses on eliminating short-term paper waste such as printer paper, receipts, and paper mail.

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why?

eliminate-short-term-paper-waste Pie ChartPaper products make up 31% of our total waste stream. Although most of this paper is recyclable, even recyclable waste uses a significant amount of energy to transport and process. The best solution would be to not be producing this part of waste stream in the first place wherever possible.

There are many examples of paper products we come across in our daily lives which are only used for a short period of time and then disposed of or recycled. Simple habit changes would reduce this use significantly.


how to do this action:

STEP 1: EVALUATE

For the initial evaluation week you will be collecting all paper products which you come across: This may be in the form of:
Junk mail/regular mail, receipts, printer paper, magazines, catalogues, sticky notes, lists, etc.

STEP 2: INVENTORY

Make a list of all short-term paper products which you came into contact with over this week in one column. In the next, come up with alternative habits which can eliminate the use of this material (and waste).


For example:
  • Junk Mail
    Opt out of junk mail. The following link walks you through the process of choosing what mail you would like to receive, giving you the option to eliminate coupon books, catalogues and junk mailings. For others, you may need to contact the organization/company directly. PrivacyRights.org


  • Bills
    Most bills now have electronic options, eliminating the paper needed to send a bill as well as the envelopes to send a paper check.

  • Receipts
    Tell check-out clerks that you do not need a receipt so they know not to print one. Some retailers are now offering the option of an emailed receipt which is kept in the system if needed for returns or exchanges.

  • Printer paper
    Whenever possible read documents on screen rather than printing them off. Come up with some rules for yourself which work in your lifestyle, perhaps: Only print off paper that needs to be used/referenced for over 1 week, 1 month...

  • Lists
    Use phone applications or keep to-do lists on your computer or a white-board.


what will be measured?

KEY QUESTIONS

QUANTITATIVE QUESTION: How many types of short-term paper waste were you able to eliminate from your typical habits?

QUALITATIVE QUESTION: How does the experience of eliminating short-term paper waste from your life affect your happiness, convenience, health and costs?

BASELINE WEEK TRACKING

QUANTITATIVE
During the baseline tracking week before the project begins, use the corresponding spreadsheet (WST3_BASELINE) to inventory all short-term paper use which is disposed of or recycled in a typical week. Collect all paper waste and list in categories.

QUALITATIVE


Qualitative Scale

Using the above scale as a visual, rate each of the following criteria on the spreadsheet (WST3_BASELINE) as it relates to your current short-term paper waste use:

  • 1. SATISFACTION/HAPPINESS
    (Overall, how much enjoyment or dissatisfaction do you get out of doing and completing this behavior?)

  • 2. CONVENIENCE
    (How easy/difficult and accessible/inaccessible is this behavior for you to do and complete?)

  • 3. HEALTH
    (How healthy/unhealthy and safe/unsafe does this behavior make you feel?)

  • 4. COST
    (How much does this behavior cost? Use positive numbers for being above average and negative numbers for being below average and zero for being average.)

IMPLEMENTATION PHASE TRACKING

QUANTITATIVE
Use the corresponding spreadsheet (WST3_QUANTITATIVE) to track types of items that you were unable to eliminate and why. At the end of the implementation phase, compare all short-term paper waste that you were unable to eliminate during your baseline. How many types of short-term paper waste items were you able to eliminate?

QUALITATIVE
Part 1 - Ranking


Qualitative Scale

Using the above scale as a visual, rate each of the following criteria individually each week on the spreadsheet (WST3_QUALITATIVE). Your answers should not be rated in comparison to your baseline week, but in general as a reflection of how you are feeling.

  • 1. SATISFACTION/HAPPINESS
    (Overall, how much enjoyment or dissatisfaction do you get out of doing and completing this behavior?)

  • 2. CONVENIENCE
    (How easy/difficult and accessible/inaccessible is this behavior for you to do and complete?)

  • 3. HEALTH
    (How healthy/unhealthy and safe/unsafe does this behavior make you feel?)

  • 4. COST
    (How much does this behavior cost? Use positive numbers for being above average and negative numbers for being below average and zero for being average.)

Part 2 - Blogging
Keep a narrative log of your experiences as you implement this action and how it has affected your life. Some of the following questions might be helpful as you reflect upon your experiences.

What was most difficult about eliminating short-term paper waste? Were there tools or reminders that you devised for yourself to lead you to completing this action fully? What tools might have been helpful?


resources

Eliminate Junk mail: PrivacyRight.org

ACTION SPREADSHEETS

The spreadsheets referred to above can be found in the Excel file at the following link:

WST3_Eliminate All Short-term Paper Waste Spreadsheet

If you prefer to enter your responses by hand, printable PDFs of each spreadsheet can be found at the following links (at the end of the project, all data will have to be entered into the Excel spreadsheet):

WST3_BASELINE
WST3_QUANTITATIVE
WST3_QUALITATIVE