Paper Savings

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

Paper isn't always expensive. A package of several notepads can be found in any dollar store. Yet, knowing that the average American consumes more than 661 pounds of paper per year, it doesn't take much to realize that those pages add up. Consider these ways to save on paper cost and save the environment at the same time.



Those notepads with magnets look cute on the fridge, but why pay for something that you're already throwing away? Take a look at your junk mail. Dozens of sheets of paper come in the mail which are only printed on one side. Cut these into fourths and attach a decorated clip to the top to hold them together (try coloring a clothespin or gluing a picture cut from a magazine onto one.) Now you have an instant grocery list memo pad for free. The best news is that you can have an endless supply of these thanks to marketing trends.

Printer Paper

Printer and copier paper is pricey, but luckily there are ways to save it. The easiest way is to examine your printer's printing pattern and learn how to print on both sides of the page. Don't let the printer do this automatically. Most will print one side then waste another sheet of paper to say "reload printed page this way" with an arrow. Instead, print only odd pages then reload the paper to print the even pages.


Recycling is another easy way to save paper. Create a bin for paper which can be recycled by cutting the front panel of a cereal box away, leaving three sides. Then, decorate this bin with newspaper, comics, a magazine picture collage, or wrapping paper. Even leftover wallpaper scraps make a nice bin. Then, add any papers that are printed incorrectly, papers that are no longer needed, or flyers that came in the mail (use only non-glossy and unfolded mailers.) Print everything on this recycled paper except final copies of documents which need to be professional. There is no need to use a new sheet of paper to print driving directions.

The last way takes practice. Print less. Why waste expensive paper and ink to print driving directions? Instead, copy them down by hand on the back of a recycled mailer. Most of the directions are unneeded anyway like how to get to the highway from your house. Likewise, many electronic purchases create a receipt page for printing. Try saving this page on your hard drive instead. Rarely are these needed, and if they are they can easily be printed from your saved file.


Toilet Paper

It's a delicate subject, but each American consumes more than 75 pounds of toilet paper a year! This is both an environmental concern and a monetary one. Rather than use the average 8.6 sheets per visit, try to cut back by one or two. Likewise, avoid using four sheets to transport that trespassing spider to his next home.

About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines and has written a history book for middle readers. Visit her website for writing help, lesson plans, history fun, or work for hire at


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