Tips on Saving Paper

Save paper when purchasing, in the office, or by using computers.

Ways to Save

Paper procurement policies are the easiest and most systematic way to change a large organization’s paper habits, from using two sides of a sheet to using recycled paper. Why? Because once the policy is in place, a policy which prioritizes paper and characteristics of paper for purchasing decisions, (a major feat) the follow up is a question of following the design. However, most institutions will find price a significant point of resistance. That is why we suggest that any environmentally preferable paper policy be combined with a paper saving (and recycling) program. The following brochures should help. They are free downloads. Paper Purchasing: Or…Everything you’ve always wanted to ask about purchasing environmentally preferable paper, and are keen to learn. Download Paper Purchasing (Word 161 kb) Saving Paper (pdf 356 kb) Save Trees – Save Money! A WIN WIN SCENARIO! Before Reusing and Recycling comes Reducing. Recycling alone does not address the issue of wasteful use. That’s why we need waste prevention. Buying Paper (pdf 386 kb) A “Green” Paper Procurement Policy shows a commitment to social responsibility. Environmental benefits of an EP paper procurement policy:

  • Saves trees (particularly old-growth/endangered forests), natural forest ecosystems, energy, water, landfill space
  • Less toxic air and water pollutants released
  • Fewer greenhouse gases emitted

For model paper procurement policy documents, visit the “Markets Initiative” web site – Not too many folks (yet!) will have the luxury of those in London England, with the Local Paper for London program, where participants, including the House of Commons, send their paper for recycling with local companies, and then purchase back Evolve, the brand of office paper that closes the loop in the Local Paper for London cycle.

Eco-Friendly Newsprint in Vancouver

If you are interested in web press (tabloid) publications, Horizon Publications ( has nice, 100% recycled process chlorine free newsprint available at any time for your jobs. The price is equal or slightly below ordinary newsprint.

Saving Paper/Money when Publishing Books

Publishing a report or book? Why have an inventory of copies that may soon become outdated, or are never required? Saving on extraneous printing will save your organization money while conserving resources. Victoria’s Trafford Publishing is one of only a handful of companies in the world to offer an “on-demand publishing service,” where books are printed individually after they are ordered. The books look great, and are strongly-bound (perfect binding) with colour covers. Coil bindings are also available. Trafford will handle sales for you or you can order small batches at a time, so you can tailor delivery to your needs. The service is designed for individual authors who wish to self-publish in a manner that is more affordable, convenient and efficient than was possible before the advent of the Internet (for publicity and e-commerce) and print-on-demand production equipment. Authors select from three paper stocks, with one choice being New Leaf paper.

Trafford’s service may would work well for reports and other organizational publishing needs as well as books you are offering to the public. Website:  Phone: 1-888-232-4444 (in Victoria BC, call 383-6864)

Saving Paper with Two Column Landscape Format

Less paper can nearly always be used by printing documents two-columns landscape. Even at 12-point, simply changing to two-column landscape reduces document size by about 5-7%. I have a Format template as follows that saves 30% or more: 10 point; Minimum margins (top .35″; bottom .4″; left .28″; right .4″); Column 4.93″ spacing .45″.

Most business letters are short; most can fit onto 1/2 sheet of paper (try it!). Thus you can fit two letters or both the original and a file copy on a single sheet of paper.

* With Thanks to Gretchen Brewer of Port Townsend, WA.

Saving Paper in Word Perfect and MS Word
from: Word tweaks that help you save paper (One Northwest newsletter)

Once upon a time, computers were supposed to enable a “paperless office.” HA! What computers really do is help us crank out ever more paper. Even if you’re using 100% post-consumer recycled paper (the folks at TreeCycle ( are our trusty suppliers), it’s still a lot of trees we’re consuming in the name of protecting the environment.

In Microsoft Word:

The good news is that you can easily tweak a few of the default settings in Microsoft Word to make your documents print more efficiently and use quite a bit less paper. While you might not want to do this for “formal” documents, making these tweaks can help you save a lot of paper when working with “draft” documents or documents that are purely for internal use.

These tips were adapted from an article in Office Watch, one of our favourite sources of information on all things Microsoft Office.

Three simple Word formatting tweaks to help you save paper:

  • Word’s default margin settings are an inch at the top and bottom and 1.25 inches on the sides. Change them all to .9 of an inch. You’ve just increased the printable area on your page, and your document will become about 10% shorter.
  • The default font size is 12 point. You can change it 11.5 point to shrink your document about 5%.
  • The line spacing is single spacing by default. If you change it to .95, you gain an extra line every 20 lines, and make your document 5% shorter.

How do you do make these changes? While Word has lots of ways to change specific settings, if you want to make all of these changes at once, nothing beats working on the default template directly. Here’s the easiest way to do it in Windows:

Click Start | Search | For Files and Folders. Search for a file called

If you get more than one hit, look for the that’s associated with your user profile (your user name will be listed in the path of folders leading to

Once you’ve found, right-click on it and choose Open. That fires up Word, with loaded.

Other folks in your organization can use your modified “” Have them find their and replace with a copy of yours; you can email it to them, or put it in a shared folder on your network. Changing the default template — or creating new templates — is a very powerful way to make sure your organization’s documents are formatted consistently.

In Wordperfect 9:

To set the default font and font size, click Format>Font. Set the text settings you want, then click the “Default” button in the lower left corner.

To set margins, go to File>Page Setup.

To set line spacing, go to Format>Paragraph.

When you’re done making changes, click File, Close, and save changes. The new settings will be applied to every new blank document you create. You can also apply these formatting changes to existing documents that you already have.

To change the default font face and size for the active document

  • Click File, Document, Default Font.
  • Click the Font tab.
  • Choose a font face from the Face list box.
  • Choose a font size from the Size list box.

To change the default font face and size for all documents

  1. Follow steps 1 to 4 from the previous procedure.
  2. Click the Settings button, then choose Set As Default For All Documents.

Does it work?

You bet! When we took a 42-page document and made these slight changes, the document shrank to only 34 pages — a 20% paper savings!

Saving Paper with Fineprint (Windows software)

Recycled chlorine free paper gives big savings to the environment, but saving paper will help even more – for your bottom line, AND the environment. Here is some handy software (for Windows) to help you save in the interface between you and your computer. We’ve tried it, and it works!

Fineprint ( is inexpensive software that can reduce paper consumption to by 50% or more, especially for draft printouts or printouts from web pages and email. A UBC economics professor refers students to it who complain about tens of dollars, and hours at the print station, whilst printing out notes from adobe acrobat .pdf lecture note files. You can download a free demo (free demo is limited to 8 page pages per print and 30 days use). The program seems to be of good quality and it works with any application (adding print preview to applications that do not include this feature). The designer’s motivation was partially environmental.

The program’s main benefit is that it shrinks pages so one-and-a-bit-page fits onto just one page, and it can put 2, 4, or 8 pages onto one side (you chose how small you can comfortably read or how fine your printer can legibly print – I found usually 2 pages to one and double sided to be acceptable and save 75%).

In addition fineprint makes double sided printing easier for dummies by prompting you to put one sided printouts back in your printer at the right time and the right way up (after a one-off test procedure). Other features you can select are smart selection of landscape versus portrait layout, and smart margins.

This ‘fineprint’ can be one of an arsenal of tactics to promote reduction.

The Canadian reseller online is The trial version from axionnet does not have a time limit on it, but does limit you to 8 pages per document, and prints a license registration reminder at the bottom of each page.
The Fineprint site ( also has a program called pdf factory, to turn most documents into pdfs.

Saving Paper with fineprint – February 2002 Reach for Unbleached! thanks to Buying Club member Geza Vamos, EcoMountain Tours, West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for this tip. (


Percentage of Paper you can Save

  • Using Recycled Paper 100% 100%
  • Using double sided pages 75% 75%
  • Using Fine Print 50% 50%
  • Shrinking Document 5% 5%