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Paper Waste Statistics You Need to Know

Jemina Boyd October 1, 2021

Paper Waste Statistics You Need to Know
Document Management
Every business owner knows that controlling costs is key to success. This often involves cutting back on IT spending, travel, and outsourcing when possible. But the use of paper is an expense that often gets overlooked.

The cost of paper

Despite advancements in technology, the average office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of paper per year. And even though one ream of paper (500 sheets) goes for only $3.30, there are other costs associated with paper.

According to PairSoft, it costs around $20 to file a document, $120 to find a misplaced document and $220 to reproduce it. Companies also need to purchase file cabinets ($150), printers ($500), and office supplies like folders and printer ink ($13-75 per ounce). What’s more, you need to hire someone to oversee and maintain your archive room at all times.

Costs also vary depending on the industry. Schools and financial services firms, for instance, spend more on paper than a construction company. But no matter what industry you’re in, the costs will sneak up on you if you continue to use paper. In fact, according to an IDC report, you shouldn’t be surprised if your printing and paper expenses take up one to three percent of your annual budget.

Paper drains productivity and creates waste

Apart from the costs, paper-centric processes slow everything down. Without a centralized repository of information, office workers can waste up to 20-30% of their time looking for files.

To collaborate, employees need to print out several copies of the same document for everyone, which is a problem because someone will have to compile all the changes and update the original document when everyone is finished.

What’s worse is almost half of the paper workers use ends up in the trash. So not only does paper affect productivity, but it also harms the environment.

Paper puts businesses at risk

While major cybersecurity issues like ransomware and Equifax hacks plague the headlines, businesses that rely on paper are far more susceptible to data breaches. For example, between 2009 and 2016, hospitals suffered more paper-based breaches than cyberattacks because files were constantly left out in the open and improperly disposed of.

Another study found that 70% of businesses would fail within three weeks if all their paper records were wiped out by a fire or flood.

What’s the solution?

The good news is you can address all these challenges with a document management system (DMS), a program that allows you to scan your files and store them in a centralized database.

Text-based files are automatically indexed, so if you need to retrieve a file, all you have to do is type in keywords specific to that file in the search bar. There’s also no need to make extra copies because files are stored in one place. Authorized users can access the latest version of a document and find out the last person who accessed it. What’s more, DMS stores your data in the cloud and puts it behind multiple layers of protection, decreasing the chances of data breaches.

But the best part about DMS is you save money on paper and streamline processes, all while doing your part to save the environment. Traditional paper-based habits are tough to break, but for many businesses going paperless results in a better bottom line (see for yourself).

Transitioning to a paperless office is simple when you use PairSoft. Our solution comes with easy-to-use document capture and workflow automation features that dramatically increase your productivity and efficiency. To learn more about the benefits of DMS, read our FREE whitepaper: Why businesses should go paperless.

Jemina Boyd

Jem Boyd has 10+ years of ERP strategic marketing and implementation experience across a variety of platforms. She specializes in developing PairSoft's platform relationships as well as campaigns with Microsoft, NetSuite, Sage, and Blackbaud. She is based in Nashville.

View all posts by Jemina Boyd
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