Of course, saving paper means saving costs. These are some small ways that we reduce our paper consumption at home.
- Reuse everything. I can't remember the last time I wrote a grocery list or a phone message on a virgin sheet of paper, rather than on the back of an envelope or a piece of scratch paper.
- When paper contains confidential material, shred it and use it for kindling (for the fireplace or charcoal grill) or for mulch.
- Newspapers can be used for cleaning windows before recycling them. I'm also told that newspapers make good mulch for gardens.
- Use Catalog Choice to reduce the number of catalogs you receive in the mail.
- Sign up for electronic statements with your bank and investment services. Often, this choice comes with benefits from the bank, as they are saving printing and postage costs.
- Consider using electronic documents for household needs: recipes, budget spreadsheets, etc. I have a friend who keeps a running list of questions for her pediatrician on her Blackberry, rather than on paper.
- Use cloth napkins and reusable cloth rags for cleaning to reduce paper towel consumption.
- Purchase used books or magazines when available. Instead of sending magazines directly to the recycling bin, try selling them at a used book store, or offer them to a friend for reading before recycling.
Edited to add:
How could I forget? We get paper bags at the grocery store when we forget our reusable bags (for shame - it happens all too often!), or when our grocery order fills all the bags we have with us. I use the paper bags for recycling that does not fit into our two bins, and now I'm saving paper bags for our church book sale. Plastic shopping bags are reused as small garbage can liners and dog poop scoopers.