Reducing Paper Waste


GreenPrint's green prince

A core component of Lean thinking is the reduction or elimination of waste. Waste is sometimes defined as anything beyond the bare minimum that's required to accomplish a task or goal.

For a long time, I've noticed that, when you print a news article from the web, you often get a page at the end that is pure waste.

OK, you could quibble with why we print web pages (calling that waste), but sometimes it's easier to read on paper or certainly easier to take with you on a plane. You probably recognize that last page that has only one line, such as a copyright statement or something you could have avoided printing altogether.

A software company, GreenPrint, finally has a solution to this problem. Their software works with your browser to help avoid those “orphan pages” as they're called. This saves paper, ink, and electricity. The software, unlike a lot of good stuff online, isn't free. But, I'm sure there is a good business case for spending $25 on software that will save supplies… which is good for your costs and for the environment. I can particularly see the savings that the enterprise version would bring. GreenPrint was featured in the WSJ today ($$).

How much paper do you waste in your office?

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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