Save The Planet – Ditch The Manuals

I have had many different kinds of jobs over the years, much like that guy on The Pretender. Not that I was raised in a quasi-government facility and trained to be a human weapon, although that would have been cool.

Anyway, each time I started a new job I was given a training manual to teach me the duties of my position. When the training period was over, and I felt that I had a good grasp of what was expected of me, I would toss the manual into the recycle bin. If there was one. If there wasn’t one, I would throw it into the regular trash.

I cringe when I imagine all the manuals I threw away lying there in the landfill for thousands of years, trying to break down and dissolve into the earth. And I am just one person. There are hundreds of new hires every day. Then there are the people in the medical profession. They receive paper documents and a thick manual every time they need to learn a new piece of medical equipment or medical procedure.

I was curious to see how much paper waste this actually added up to, so I asked a recycling professional from a well-known waste hauler to send me some numbers.

Paper waste makes up about 35% of the total materials filling up landfills. And the average office worker in the U.S. uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year (not counting training manuals), which is 4 million tons of copy paper used annually!

One way employers can help the environment is to switch to online training. It uses absolutely no paper what-so-ever, and you can make your training manuals as long and detailed as you want, without having to worry about the impact on our planet.

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