The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ranks paper as one of the largest components of most office waste. By eliminating paper from your office (or at least reducing it), you can significantly decrease your office supply and trash disposal bills in an earth-friendly (and cost-savings) way. Here are a few ways to use less paper in a typical small business.

1 | Pay bills online


No need to write or print paper checks. Banks and online payment systems offer secure online bill pay options. You’ll save the cost of postage, paper, and checks by paying online, as well as freeing up the time you spent doing it the old-fashioned way.

2 | Issue invoices online


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Like online bill pay, paperless billing is simple — and speeds up the delivery of receivables.

3 | Set up a cloud-based file-organizing and sharing system

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Services like Dropbox,  Apple iCloud, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive (and others) are paper-free ways to organize, share, and archive work-related files.

4 | Scan archival documents and add them to your cloud-based system


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Get rid of all those filing cabinets by scanning old paper documents and storing them on a hard drive or, even better, on a cloud storage site. You’ll also save space and improve your ability to communicate internally and externally.

5 | Use secure online signing


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No more need for those annoying post-it flags on print documents–DocuSign and other apps and websites provide secure ways to sign documents online. Besides reducing paper use, online signing is invaluable when deadlines are involved.

6. Use a collaborative note-sharing system

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Popular note-sharing platforms like Evernote allow users to capture and organize notes, then share them with others. You can tag and annotate notes, and organize them into notebooks for easy sharing.

7 | Go digital with calendars


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An online calendar with supporting apps can easily replace a paper one. Google, Microsoft and Apple all have calendar approaches that make it easy to share an office calendar. It’s one of the easiest ways to save paper and improve office efficiency, too.

8 | Use mobile apps to scan documents, receipts and business cards

The most downloaded business apps, both Android and iOS, are variations of one function: capturing documents with your camera and organizing them in various types of folders. Use one of those apps to transfer information into other services mentioned above.

One last tip

Turn off all of those computing, scanning and storing devices when you leave the office each day.

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