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Too Much Paper
I'm not sure what possessed me--perhaps it was the heat--but last weekend I cleaned out my files. Not my computer files, although those need attention too, but my paper files: 15 years worth of documents, brochures, clippings, reports, catalogs, notes, flyers, conference programs and handouts, committee proceedings--a treasure trove of my professional history.
Most of it went out of here in big green plastic bags--six of them and numerous file boxes--all heading to recycling. I kept very little, barely enough to fill one shelf, which surprised me. When I began I thought I'd reorganize the papers and neaten things up, but realized early on that I didn't need any of it, hadn't looked at most of it in years, and much of it was outdated.
Sure, I had some nostalgic moments going back through files from the early days of the green movement and my involvement in it and I kept many of those papers. Most of what I trashed was product literature accumulated at too many NeoCons, EnvironDesigns, Greenbuilds, and from countless sales reps.
It hit me like a chain saw in a forest: our industry uses too much paper. I love you guys, but please, stop giving us stuff unless it's on a thumb drive or disk. In June, Designtex announced that it would launch its entire upholstery collection using digital sampling. Many carpet companies are using Tryk technology to cut down on sample waste.
That's a great start, but let's also print less. In the end, it all ends up as clutter. Save trees and distribute electronically. It's why God made computers: to protect her precious forests. Next weekend I'm going to the beach.