OUR SITES: Centre for Sustainable Healthcare | Sustainable Action Planning | NHS Forest | Mapping Greener Healthcare | Carbon Addict

Paper Policy

By: West Kent Primary Care Trust

Less stress, more time, feel good

£10,000 (Estimated)

10 tons (Estimated)

Paper Saving Policy Saving paper benefits the environment by reducing pressure on tree felling (trees absorb carbon) and reducing the carbon cost in processing, manufacture and transport of paper. It will also save time, space and costs for the PCT. Whilst recycling paper is certainly good green practice, it is even more eco-efficient to save the cost and carbon emissions associated wit the process by limiting the use of paper and therefore the need to recycle.

Firstly it is important to review whether printing a hard copy is entirely justified. If it is just for the purpose of filing, then it advisable to introduce a new system which instead utilises the more efficient archiving facilities of computers and on the web. Printing out emails for filing is a good example of unnecessary practice. If a hard copy must nevertheless be printed out then there are number of different ways offices can still save paper: 

  • Cut paper use in half by using double-sided photocopying and printing wherever possible. Set duplex printing as default.
  • Chairs of all meeting to request summaries only to be printed of long documents with detail available electronically
  • Use “Locked Print” where possible so document is only printed when you need it and can retrieve it. This is essential for confidential information.
  • Use email and voicemail wherever possible instead of memos/letters.
  • Create a secondary storage for used but reusable paper that can be for draft print-outs, faxes and note taking. Reuse paper trays should appear next to printers, fax machines and photocopiers and be a fixture of every desk.
  • Proofread documents carefully on screen before printing them out.
  • If you print a multiple page file and then discover errors, use the print option to only reprint the pages that have been changed.
  • Set the document line spacing to no more than 1.5.
  • Arrange publications so there is a minimum of white space, such as by adjusting margin width.
  • Consider use of text messaging for appointments and reminders

NHS West Kent -tonbridge, Maidstone Gravesend

Part of carbon reduction- simple to do and affects everyone


winning hearts and minds, getting senior figures on board - too busy to think

Dr C Jessel, cjessel@nhs.net