Government offices in the country will go paperless by the end of this month. What does it really mean?

According to a study carried out by the Department of National Properties, about 18 offices consume nearly 180 tonnes of paper a year, which is about 22 truckloads of paper a year. And, going by the National Environment Commission’s Life Cycle Assessment, Nu 11,600 per person could be saved if government offices go paperless.

An immense amount of expenditure could be saved. That’s what it really means. It also means that we can contribute significantly towards reducing impact on the environment.

Going paperless is a good practice that must be adopted by not just government offices, but also by the offices in the growing private sector. Adopting sustainable consumption and production – promoting resource and energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructure, and providing access to basic services, green and decent jobs and a better quality of life – should be at the heart of our development goals. In the long term, we could gain in terms of achieving our development plans, reducing future economic, environmental and social costs and be able to reduce poverty.

Our services and related products should respond to better quality of life by minimising waste and keeping in mind the needs of the future generations. For many establishments, going paperless all at once could be challenging. But it can be done. Financial institutions have already started paperless banking.

However, the process of going paperless should be encouraged and guided step by step. Already some offices print only one original copy and circulate the documents via email. Offices have also adopted the practice of reusing the papers and installing network printers. And likewise, printing on both sides of the paper and discouraging use of faxing letters and documents are some of practical solutions towards going paperless.

We may not be able to go completely paperless, but we can certainly reduce its use. What is important is that we aim at reducing environmental, social and economic costs significantly.