Is A Paperless Future Possible?

Photo by Christa Dodoo on Unsplash

Companies like Adobe are joining the revolution to go paperless. You can now sign, edit and mark a document using their software. In our office, we now have electronic pay slips. I also opted for e-statements from banks and other bills because it is faster and it is my way of reducing paper waste. These are some of the changes that I experienced which are part of our transition to a paperless society. But is it possible to completely get rid of paper?

Going paperless has its advantages. It will reduce our paper waste because everything will be digitized. It will also help our environment because we do not need to cut more trees to produce paper. Fun fact: if you print the whole internet, you will need 305.5 billion pages of paper and this is just an approximation made in 2015!

Paperless society was conceptualized by Frederick Wilfrid Lancaster in 1978 but in 2013 alone, 3.5 trillion of pages were printed and this number is growing. This fact alone is evidence that we still rely on paper as a storage and transmitter of information especially to areas with no internet connection. On the other hand, sometimes using paper is the environmental-friendly option because paper is biodegradable.

If we will completely transition to digital, we will encounter problems like device cost, operating cost and electronic pollution because of e-waste. According to Envibrary, 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed of worldwide every year and only 12.5% is recycled.

After presenting the facts in this discussion, I think it will be hard to achieve a paperless society. Paper is still useful in delivering information to those who are not connected to the digital world. And our digital options are not yet accessible to many people and we have to solve their environmental drawbacks.

REFERENCE LIST

Dewey, Caitlin. “If You Could Print out the Whole Internet, How Many Pages Would It Be?” The Washington Post, WP Company, 28 Apr. 2019, http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2015/05/18/if-you-could-print-out-the-whole-internet-how-many-pages-would-it-be/.

Dhumne, Kishor M. “Paperless Society in Digital Era.” International Journal of Library and Information Studies, vol. 7, 2017, p. 317., ijlis.org/img/2017_Vol_7_Issue_4/317–319.pdf.

Fu, Ernestine, and Thomas Ehrlich . “The ‘Paperless Society’ Is Far From Paperless.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 24 Sept. 2014, http://www.forbes.com/sites/ehrlichfu/2014/09/24/the-paperless-society-is-far-from-paperless/#3c9443fc7088.

Samajdar, Arijit. “Electronic Pollution — The Upcoming Environmental Concern.” Envibrary, 29 Aug. 2018, envibrary.com/electronic-pollution/.

Wolverton, Troy. “Review: Paperless Society Remains a Distant Dream.” Phys.org, Phys.org, 24 Apr. 2015, phys.org/news/2015–04-paperless-society-distant.html.

Originally published at http://erwinsiron.wordpress.com on July 12, 2020.

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Erwin Siron

Erwin Siron

A colorblind who never stops in exploring the hues of the world.

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