More and more businesses are switching from paper forms and documents to digital for their company needs. Why are they opting for digital? The answer is clear – the environment and cost savings.
It is true that overall the paper industry has become more environmentally responsible in the paper production process. Today, 39 percent of papermaking comes from recycled paper, which is a noteworthy improvement from the past. But, that does not entirely take away from the fact that papermaking still accounts for a considerable amount of deforestation in the nation. Each year, $18 million acres of trees are cut down and more than one-third of the timber harvested in the U.S. is harvested for paper. The amount of timber harvested each year in the United States continues to exceed the forest growth. The negative impact on the environment could be reduced in many cases by choosing digital alternatives.
In addition to digitizing for environmental reasons, businesses have begun to move away from using paper for another reason: cost savings. Businesses care about the bottom line, and therefore more businesses have opted for digital versions of the everyday documents they were once using. Paper itself may not be very expensive, but the costs add up as you factor in storage, copying, printing and postage. When people are finished using paper, you must also spend money to dispose or recycle it. Studies estimate that associated paper costs such as these total to roughly 30 times the actual purchasing cost.
The Bank of America reduced its paper consumption by one-fourth by merging to digital for forms and reporting, by copying and printing on double-sided paper and by using lighter-weight paper. By digitizing, businesses are also able to free up space that would otherwise be used for filing cabinets and storage, and save time that employees would typically be spending on searching for documents.
There will continue to be situations where paper is the best option, but for those looking to reduce spending, the switch to digital could pave the way to a greener future, save businesses’ money, as well as free up space and time in the office which translates into saving money as well.