Take a look around your desk; you probably have piles and piles of paper just sitting there. These piles are a combination of bills, documents you feel you should keep but probably won’t ever need, catalogs, junk mail, and receipts. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed among all these former trees, especially if the whole thing is a disorganized mess. And wouldn’t your life be so much more eco-friendly if you could cut out paper entirely? Check out Lifehacker’s Guide to Going Paperless:
1. Pay your bills online. Practically all utility companies have the option to pay your bill online. Take advantage.
2. Get your bank statements online. You’ll have a copy of your records in your account on your bank’s site.
3. Stop getting credit card offers and direct marketing material. Head to OptOutPreScreen.com to be removed from credit and insurance offer mailing lists, and to DMAchoice to register to stop receiving direct marketing mail you don’t want. Instead, sign up for your favorite companies’ email lists to get special offers.
4. Eliminate catalogs. Enlist Precycle to help get your name off of mailing lists. It’s only $20 a year, and they will plant five trees in your name.
5. Use PDFs. Instead of physically printing and filing important documents and receipts, save documents as PDFs and put them in a folder on your desktop. Also, make sure you back up your data – check out Lifehacker’s guide to backing up.
6. Digitize your signature. Instead of signing things and faxing them to someone, create a digital version of your signature. Then just slap your John Hancock on the digital document, and email it back.
7. Use your phone for notes. If you have any kind of moderately smart phone, it should have some kind of note application. Make your grocery and to-do lists on your phone, and you’ll save a ton of scrap paper.
8. Use eVites. Even your grandma uses email these days (even if it is AOL). Send out digital invitations. Cocodot lets you create nice ones.
9. Decline receipts. If you’re making a small debit or credit card purchase or using an ATM, tell them you don’t want a receipt.
10. Check for online options. If you have a mail-in rebate, check the website to see if there’s an online option. And check to see if your favorite magazine has an online-only option.