Redesign your reading life

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The paperless office of the future is an idea of the past. In reality, more paper than ever gets printed. Computers, internet content and bandwidth have combined to kill more trees, release more toxins and waste more energy than ever. Why? We’ve incorrectly designed our information intake process. We actually think that we comprehend more and read easier when something is on the printed page, instead of the electronic screen.

If you want to reduce your footprint and be part of sustainable living, redesign your reading life to go electronic whenever possible. I will still read books and a few periodicals, but in the future I’m going to push myself to read on screen, save what I like on my computer and reduce my printing by 80% in the next year.

Furthermore, I’m officing now outside of Burbank to write, and yesterday I went to my neighbors and asked them if they had any paper destined for the recycle heap. I’m researching these days, and need to make some incidental copies and reports for internal use only. Unavoidable printing beyond my redesign. I collected about 1000 pages of paper from a baffled set of office workers for reuse. Check out my post on reusage of paper. When I combine that reusage with my reduction in using fresh paper (all recycled), I feel like my redesign helps to make a difference. When my new neighbors generously offered fresh paper, I told them that I would rather rescue dead paper from the recyling bin — because recycling should be the last resort when paper cannot be reused.

Telling you only helps me take it further. If I can get one blog reader to redesign their reading life or tell five of their friends — I can really make a difference beyond my own footprint.

Recommended read: Cradle To Cradle by William McDonough and Michael Braungart