Those blue recycling bins are great. They’re a subtle reminder to think twice before you throw recyclables into the garbage can. Although there are a few people who seem to think that trash goes into the recycling bin (please don’t get me started). But these bins serve as another reminder. They display the three words: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. And these are in order of importance, reducing lessens the need for reusing or recycling.
I’m always looking for ways to reduce but I recently discovered a way to reuse before I recycle. It’s a system called the ‘scratch tray’ and it’s very straightforward. First you save all of the paper you would normally recycle (unless it has sensitive info on it, but those you would probably shred anyway). Then you simply load the scratch paper upside-down into one of the trays in your office printer. You designate that the scratch tray. And a big part of the success of this system is communicating with the people who use the printer regularly. How do you do this?
- Make sticky note reminders to go on their monitors
- When you tell them about it show them an example (“observe: xeroxed butt cheeks on this side, important map directions on the other”)
- Send out an office wide email
- Show them how to print from a different tray (some people still don’t know how to do this, you’ll look like a computer whiz)
So the next time you get an urgent fax regarding the inheritance you’re due from the King of Nigeria– put that paper to some use in your printer’s new ‘scratch tray’– after you send them all of your bank account info, of course. First things first right?