Just say “no” to paper invoices.

Sometimes making a change is as easy as saying “no”. Last week I received this email from one of our suppliers:

Please find attached the July 2011 Invoices. A hard copy will be arriving in the mail shortly.
Thank you,

My usual process when I get an invoice via email is to forward the PDF  to my finance team and they take care of it. And with the number of emails I get every day, it’s easy to just gloss over what’s written in the email and just follow my standard process. But when I read that they were also sending a hard copy in the mail, I had to stop and ask myself “why?” I don’t need a hard copy sent to me, since it’s WAY easier for me to email the PDF to my finance team rather than walk 4 floors down to give it to them in person. Also, I’ve already been given a copy of it, so if I really needed a hard copy, I could just print it out myself.

So I emailed back my supplier and told her that we don’t require hard copies of any of our invoices, and asked if she could make a note in our file to not have hard copies automatically sent out. She replied “No problem”.

I wonder how many organizations are just in the habit of sending out hard copies of invoices? How much are they un-neccesarily spending on print, labour and mail costs? How many of their customers really require them?

Also, how many people routinely get paper invoices that they don’t need and would rather recieve in PDF form? Do you take the time to tell your supplier and request a change? It took me just seconds to send the email to request it and will save 12 sheets of paper, 12 envelopes and 12 stamps a year.  Yeah, that doesn’t sound like a lot, but multiply that by all of you reading this post and there could be some serious savings.

Going green is about making a lot of these little changes in life. Many of them take seconds and are quite painless. So the next time you get a paper invoice that you don’t need, take the time to say “no”.

5 Steps to Starting Your Own Office Composting Program

Starting a composting program at your office can be challenging, but if you follow these simple guidelines you can set yourself up for a successful program.

  1. Find a stainless steel bucket you can keep on your office’s kitchen countertop. Stainless steel is easy to clean and wont absorb color or odor from foods.
  2. Post signage up to let everyone know what can and can’t go inside the container.
  3. Arrange to have your container emptied on a daily basis into a large bintote and store it somewhere dark and dry. A Janitorial or storage closet works well as a storage space.
  4. Find out when your city recycling and composting pickups are scheduled – if you are in an office building check with your landlord as your garbage pickups could be from a private contractor. Find out the costs associated with arranging weekly pickups.
  5. Schedule your compost pickups at least once per week, keep your bins clean by using a biodegradable liner or requesting your bin gets exchanged for a clean one every week.

To maintain a successful composting program remind your fellow employees what a positive impact they are having on the environment and that by composting they are reducing their carbon footprint.

Have you tried composting in your office? How did it work?

10 Tips to Green Your Direct Mail

Client address changes, undeliverable mail and low response rates are among a few of the problems regularly experienced by business mailing campaigns. The problem becomes magnified when the costs of paper, printing and shipping are all worked into the equation. It is estimated that undeliverable- as –addressed (UAA) mail costs mailers over $6 billion a year. These costs extend to the United States post office, which annually spends over $2 billion (US) to process and sort UAA mail. The huge environmental impact compounds the issue, accounting for more than six million trees and over 300 million pounds of paper.

Whereas it’s often assumed that “going green” requires a costly investment in additional infrastructure, efficiencies are often as simple as re-examining existing practices and using a little creativity. A new Melissa Data whitepaper outlines 10 simple steps to reduce the cost and environmental impact of mailing campaigns all while increasing response rates.

  1. Correct and Standardize addresses before they are entered into the CRM database [Read more…]

Got lots of scrap paper around?

Softchoice had piles of obsolete invoice paper sitting around our office. The paper had something printed on one-side, but the other side was completely blank. Instead of putting it into the paper recycling bin, we decided to re-use it first! The paper was glued together and a cardboard backing put on…and voila!…we now had a pile of new notepads for the supply cabinet.

Check out the story:



Charging up the fight against e-Waste

Why on earth are there so many different kinds of mobile phone chargers?

The question comes to mind whenever your mobile device buzzes its “low battery” message and you can’t find your charger. Frantically, you survey colleagues, bystanders – anyone to see if they have a charger you can use. Finally you find someone with a charger. But it won’t work with your phone. [Read more…]