Author Topic: Save money/reduce environmental impact by using the blank side of printed paper  (Read 2637 times)

sergrief

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Near the end of secondary school, the teachers used to print out tonnes of exercise and exam papers for us to practise. My school bag usually weighed 5kg (yes, I weighed it out of curiosity) just full of papers.

I noticed that most of the papers only had words printed on one side, so the other side was blank. I thought it was a waste to throw all these papers away, so I stored them all and decided to use the blank sides whenever I needed to scribble to-dos, shopping lists, study notes, diagrams, impromptu recipes etc. When I babysit kids and they want to draw, I just give them the used paper. I've also been keeping all papers I get through the post that are blank on the other side.

It's been three years since and I haven't been able to chip away at 5% of the papers I stored. Besides one pack of A4 for the printer, I won't need to buy plain paper for years to come. Honestly if you want to significantly reduce your environmental impact and save money then save all the existing papers you get that have a blank side.

DragonSlayer

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This is a habit ingrained in me from childhood. Before recycling was a thing, my dad would bring home reams of printouts from work (dot matrix days, complete with tear off holes down the side!) for me to use as coloring paper.

To this day, I use both sides. If it's a printout that doesn't matter, I feed it back through the printer for the next time. Other things get used for lists, etc. Sometimes I have to just give in and recycle because it gets to be more than I can use. But as much as possible, I use it all.

Much Fishing to Do

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Yeah, this is definitely the best kind of recycling you can do (using something otherwise seen as already 'used up' as is).  what we generally think of as recycling uses so much energy to make usable again its sometimes just not very effective/efficient, though I guess they are getting better at that now.

A Fella from Stella

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So cool. Today, I told the cashier at the deli not to wrap my sandwich or bag it. Multiply that by 30+ years.......

okcisok

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I use the blank side to print coupons, so save money and paper! Every one of my work stations over the past 5 years has had a scrap paper file/box, where I put all the one-sided paper to reuse.

Step37

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Iíve been doing this for many years... paper waste drives me bonkers. Anything I need to print that isnít leaving the office gets printed on scrap. One of the guys at my office now asks me, when he needs unimportant/internal forms printed, ďhey, can you print 30 of these on your Save the World paper?Ē YES! OF COURSE I CAN, AND GLADLY!

bridget

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Do people really buy that much A4 paper that you need a system to avoid it? i have  a package I bought at least 4 years ago  still going strong, for the occasions when I need to print something out without something on the back (like a government form to mail in). I donít purposefully save scrap paper but Iím never at a loss to find some if I need to scribble something down - junk mail gives me plenty of envelopes, and I can take a note on my phone very easily.

I do have a notebook for a Spanish class I take, and a paper planner, and those two things are also pretty effective if I need a scrap of paper. But overall this seems like very high hanging fruit.

dragoncar

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That's cool, but I don't really encounter one-sided paper these days.  If I'm printing it, I just print it double sided.  And it's likely something important that will need to be given to someone else or shredded by the time I'm done.  Everything else is just electronic.

So cool. Today, I told the cashier at the deli not to wrap my sandwich or bag it. Multiply that by 30+ years.......

So like $100k in sandwiches over the course of 30 years?


A Fella from Stella

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So cool. Today, I told the cashier at the deli not to wrap my sandwich or bag it. Multiply that by 30+ years.......

So like $100k in sandwiches over the course of 30 years?

Figure once a week I grab something at a bagel shop or deli, so 50 sandwiches x 30 years = 1,500 less foil wrapping, paper wrapping, and paper bags. Then also consider that my kids seem to do what I do (found out my daughter has been taking cold showers, like I began doing a year ago) and you can multiply that.

Fishindude

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Speaking of paper waste ..... Why does the drug store insist on giving you a 4' long paper receipt with a simple purchase?

chrisgermany

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I used both sides since I was a kid.
Even more so after I learned that paper is made from trees.

dragoncar

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Speaking of paper waste ..... Why does the drug store insist on giving you a 4' long paper receipt with a simple purchase?

These are the worst because the paper has BPA and really shouldnít even be recycled. 

There has been recent backlash where you can get an email receipt

kaposzta

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My mother and also my wife have this habit, and recently I've started saving paper this way. Shopping lists should always be written on such paper.

Knapptyme

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I've been doing this for years and am still in awe at people throwing (aghast, not even recycling) this kind of usable paper away. We also print coupons on them when printed coupons are necessary (trying to go more digital in that regard).

When I was a teacher, the backs of all the stupid memos or meeting minutes turned into half sheets of paper for quizzes. Well done to all who do likewise using the backs of printed paper.

Travis

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We have a home printer that we rarely use, but thanks to school flyers or junk mail we'll end up with A4-sized paper in the recycling bin.  For the longest time when my son got an itch to draw he'd go to the printer to pull a sheet.  Now we always make sure to check the recycling bin to see if there's an alternative.

I don't keep many receipts to begin with, but I'd love it if every merchant offered an email option. 

Cassie

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When I worked I would tell everyone to give me their old forms if just printed on one side. Then when I tested clients weekly I had them do their math computations on it.

AMandM

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My father was a professor, so he generated a lot of paper. I grew up using pretty much only the back sides of paper, unless I was typing up a paper to turn in to a teacher.  To this day my father writes me letters on the backs of old papers--it's fun for me to read, say, the minutes of meetings from when he was on my high school PTA.

Now I'm married to a professor. Years ago one of our kids described his job as "he goes to the office and makes scrap paper." Eventually his department got a printer that prints double-sided, and our stock of paper has decreased.

marty998

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Our Company just rebranded this week, so I gathered up as many of the old branded notepads as I could find and took them home.

I'll give them to a good friend who has nephews that are constantly hungry for more drawing paper :)

MasterStache

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Blank side of printed paper for us gets cut into strips and put on the fridge to be used for our grocery list. And I use it for daily to-do list.

NV Teacher

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I have been yapping about paper waste at my school for years. One year I even calculated the amount of paper we used as a school.  It was close to a million sheets of paper for just over 500 students.  Thatís crazy to me. 

Mellow Mallow

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My dad was a teacher and very frugal, so I grew up drawing and writing stories on the back of old spirit copies. Now I'm a teacher and my kids are doing the same :)

ToTheMoon

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We pick up our mail at the Post Office. I usually try to open the mail there and immediately recycle the envelopes (in an effort to reduce the amount of paper that comes into our home) but the ones that do manage to make their way into our household get used for notes, lists etc. They are perfect for it!

Gyosho

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I check all of my junk mail - if the back side is blank, I add it to my pile of scratch paper. (If it is not blank, I put it directly into recycling).

I get a surprising amount of scratch paper just from junk mail.

sui generis

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We've also been doing this for a long time.  But I feel like we are getting low on scratch paper because so little is printed one-sided nowadays. Which....yay for the environment!  In the meantime, we are now writing grocery lists in corners of little scraps of paper until we get a gold mine of a few pages in the mail or at a conference that stocks us up again for a bit.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2019, 11:50:28 AM by sui generis »

HenryDavid

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When I worked at universities this was policy. Paper and toner were rationed, like paperclips etc., as we had fixed budgets for office overhead.
But in any case . . . itís obviously a good idea!

Malkynn

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Are there people who don't do this??
I just assumed everyone did...

diapasoun

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Yep! When I defended my dissertation, I was given single sided copies of it with my committee's notes. I've been using that scrap paper now for over five years for various financial calculations, writing down quick things, etc.

seattlecyclone

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Yeah this is pretty standard in our house as well. Shopping lists go on the backs of envelopes from junk mail. One-sided pieces of paper that come into our home go into a pile for printing or coloring on later. We recently bought a new ream of paper for the first time in I don't even know how long...years for sure. The result of all this paper reuse is that we've collected a rather alarming stack of notepads from various sources (charities, conferences, etc.) that we never need to dip into. Why write a shopping list on this brand new Habitat for Humanity notepad paper when the envelope it came in works just as well?

Blue Skies

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Am I the only one who gets sent little tiny notepads in the mail?  People soliciting donations for something or other are always sending me little notepads with their logo on it.  I use those for grocery lists, but I have so many stashed aside I could go a long time without needing more scrap paper.

And also, my kids come home from school each year with notebooks of paper that have maybe half of the pages used.  I tear out the used pages, and the kids draw on the rest, but I am still building up a stockpile.  I can't just send a used notebook in next year for school because the teachers require specific colors for each subject, and then have the kids write the subject name on the notebook in sharpie.  Of course next year's teacher uses different colors for those subjects.  Such a waste.

SunnyDays

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Am I the only one who gets sent little tiny notepads in the mail?  People soliciting donations for something or other are always sending me little notepads with their logo on it.  I use those for grocery lists, but I have so many stashed aside I could go a long time without needing more scrap paper.

And also, my kids come home from school each year with notebooks of paper that have maybe half of the pages used.  I tear out the used pages, and the kids draw on the rest, but I am still building up a stockpile.  I can't just send a used notebook in next year for school because the teachers require specific colors for each subject, and then have the kids write the subject name on the notebook in sharpie.  Of course next year's teacher uses different colors for those subjects.  Such a waste.

Do they have to have a certain brand of notebook, or is it just the colour that matters?  If the latter, then buy some duo tangs in the right colours and insert last year's pages.  Put a label on the front where the subject name is written and reuse next year.

MrsPennyPincher

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We are doing it for shopping lists, to-do lists, kids drawing. Not able to use it all though, thanks to generous supply from school!

powskier

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I always use both sides of toilet paper.

dragoncar

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I always use both sides of toilet paper.

Two ply technically has four usable sides

Plina

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Yeah this is pretty standard in our house as well. Shopping lists go on the backs of envelopes from junk mail. One-sided pieces of paper that come into our home go into a pile for printing or coloring on later. We recently bought a new ream of paper for the first time in I don't even know how long...years for sure. The result of all this paper reuse is that we've collected a rather alarming stack of notepads from various sources (charities, conferences, etc.) that we never need to dip into. Why write a shopping list on this brand new Habitat for Humanity notepad paper when the envelope it came in works just as well?

I have started to bring my own notebook to conferences and saying no thanks to most of the freebies that people want to give me. I explain that I have already more than I need if someone asks.

oldladystache

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When my mom was a little girl, 1925-1935, her grandmother's boyfriend worked in a print shop. He took home paper remnants for her to use as an aspiring writer and artist. She had a lot of paper and I was able to use some of it when I was growing up.

She died about 7 years ago at 92 and I still have a little of that paper.

John Galt incarnate!

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if you want to significantly reduce your environmental impact and save money then save all the existing papers you get that have a blank side.



The junk mail and other mail I receive has plenty of  blank space.

I cut it into different sizes that provide all the scrap paper I need.


fuzzy math

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I have been yapping about paper waste at my school for years. One year I even calculated the amount of paper we used as a school.  It was close to a million sheets of paper for just over 500 students.  Thatís crazy to me.

My school district uses a service called PeachJar which emails flyers