The Reasons to Go Paperless

What are the Paper Facts?

How much paper is produced?

  • The United States and Canada are the world’s largest producers of paper and paper products. The next largest are Finland, Japan, and Sweden, who produce significant amounts of wood pulp and newsprint.
  • The U.S. consumption of paper and paperboard in 1999 was approximately 354 kilograms (about 800 pounds) per person.
  • In 1997 the total world paper and paperboard production was 299,044 metric tons. It would take about 200,000 Volkswagen Beetle cars to equal this weight.
  • In the last 20 years, the combined usage of today’s top ten paper users has increased from 92 million tons to 208 million, which is a growth of 126%. So the use of computers is not slowing the amount of paper we use.

How about recycling paper?

  • Recycling one ton of paper saves about 17 trees
  • Recycling 15,000 pounds of paper equates to saving about 125 trees, 1,950 gallons of oil, 24 cubic yards of land fill space, 30,000 kilowatts of energy and 52,500 gallons of water
  • Recycling 120,000 pounds of paper equates to saving about 1,000 trees, 22,800 gallons of oil, 192 cubic yards of land fill space, 2,400,000 kilowatts of energy and 420,000 gallons of water

Paper productivity costs

  • A typical employee spends 30% – 40% of his time looking for information locked in e-mail, documents, shared hard disks and filing cabinets.
  • The average document is copied 9 to 11 times.
  • Filing costs average $20 per document.
  • When an employee leaves a company 70% of his knowledge walks out the door with him.
  • We are approaching 4 trillion documents being stored by businesses and government agencies.
  • Each four-drawer file cabinet holds an average of 10,000 to 12,000 documents, takes up to 9 square feet of floor space, and costs $1,500 per year.
  • Every 12 filing cabinets require an additional employee to maintain.
  • 18 minutes is the average search time for a document.
  • Each misfiled document costs $125.
  • Each lost document costs $350 to $700.
  • More than 70% of today’s businesses would fail within 3 weeks if they suffered a catastrophic loss of paper-based records due to fire or flood.
  • Paper in the average business grows by 22% a year, meaning your paper will double in 3.3 years.
  • 67% of data loss is directly related to user blunders, making them 30 times more menacing than viruses and the leading cause of data loss.
  • At any given time, between 3 and 5 per cent of an organization’s files are lost or misplaced.
  • U.S. managers spend an average of 4 weeks a year searching for or waiting on misfiled, mislabelled, untracked, or ‘lost’ papers”
  • Large organizations lose a document every 12 seconds.
  • 92% of information is in manila folders
  • 80% of technical information is on paper and microfilm
  • Paper files are doubling every 3.5 years
  • The average document is copied 19 times
  • Each day one billion photocopies are made
  • The average worker has a 34 hour paper backlog
  • Half an office workers time is spent handling paper/data entry
  • 50% of all projects are behind schedule

Paper costs:

Services 5%

Supplies 6%

Space 7%

Equipment 12%

Labour 70%

(Sources: AIIM, Forrester, Star Securities, US Department of Labor)

  1. Almost 80% of today’s information is still paper-based. U.S. and Canadian businesses generate over 1 trillion new pieces of paper each year.
  2. The average time to retrieve and re-file a paper document is 10 minutes.
  3. The average office worker makes 61 trips per week to the fax machine, copier and printer.
  4. It costs about $25,000 to fill a four-drawer filing cabinet and over $2,100 per year to maintain it.

(Source: Gartner Group, Coopers & Lybrand, Ernst & Young)

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