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Paperless Way of Life Made Simple

Updated on September 9, 2014

Simple Ways to Go Paperless Forever!

This lens will give you ideas for going paperless at home, at the office, and everywhere in between. Recycle and minimize paper product consumption. Lighten up your physical file storage by keeping only the essential and required physical documents. Create a permanent record of everything before you shred it for recycle. Be sure to discover how to recycle shredded paper to make beautiful home made papers, paper mache' gifts items and home decor, and more.

Be sure to keep the most important papers (consult your attorney or tax adviser if you need professional guidance) and condense the rest. If digital records concern you be sure to make a backup of the data and keep it in a safe place.

Image Credit: Going Green: For Some It Has Nothing to Do With the Environment

Before You Go Paperless - There Are Some Legal Issues

Going paperless is an exceptional way to be free of clutter and to even be more organized. Yet, there are some legal considerations to check into before you begin.

For example:


Tax Record Retention Requirements are beyond the scope of this lens. Consult with your tax advisor to find out what records you need to keep and how long you need to keep them. The regulations tend to change depending on individual location and financial activities so be certain you ask a lot of questions before you distroy any financial documents.


Legal paperwork (marriage, birth, immunizations, health, etc.) may also need to be retained.


Be certain that what you want to shred and recycle is not something that you will need to have physical records of. After you scan, file, and backup your papers, you can still read and print them out...but, any legal documentation may require originals.

That said...

The rest of it has a scanner waiting.

Scan Everything

By using a scanner and a software program such as Access, One Note, or even Excel...

Scanner To The Rescue!

Canon 1306B002 CanoScan 4400F Color Image Scanner
Canon 1306B002 CanoScan 4400F Color Image Scanner

This scanner will help you through this part of the process to clear away paper in your office or your home.

You can permanently store and easily find any thing you need without having paper copies here and there or in files that become difficult to manage and you will never be able to find what you are looking for.


Select A Software Program

Access, One Note, Excel, or any good filing system (you can even use folders on your hard drive if you want to manage them in a specific area).

Scan ----> Save to your system ---->

Microsoft Access 2007 [OLD VERSION]
Microsoft Access 2007 [OLD VERSION]

Access is one of several software programs you can use to sort and file your digital records. Other great options are Excel, One Note, and even Word *using a file folder system on your PC.


Shred Before You Recycle

Using a shredder after you have scanned your papers will allow the paper to be recycled without your information being shared.

There are paper crafters that would love to use your shredded materials to make crafts.

Perhaps you have some ideas yourself?

The Equipment Needed to Shred

Shredding your paper before recycling has several benefits. The first is security of your personal information. Then there is the ease that it can be recycled by your local artists and crafts people. Many communities have paper recycling centers that do not require shredding.

If you have a lot of paper that you are not concerned about personal information, you might check your local recycling center for information about how to prepare paper for recycling drop off or in larger communities pick up service may be available.

Shredder Cut Type Defined

Strips, Cross-Cut, Confetti and Micro Shredders Defined

Shredders are used to cut a piece of paper.

Ranges of cuts can be as much as 3,770 bits per sheet. The mid-range shredder uses the cross-cut (aka confetti cut) type of shred, which cuts a piece of paper into 300 pieces. The "average" strip cut shredder cuts a piece of paper into 34 strips which often allow for an easier reassembly.

Choosing the type of shred cut should be based on security needs as well as the process you are using to recycle. In other words, how sensitive is the information on the paperwork you are shredding and where will the shredded paper be in the next stage after shredding.

Will your shredded paper be put into a dumpster or will it be placed into a supervised composting area? On the other hand, will your shredded paper be handed over to an outsourcing company who specializes in disposal of sensitive documents?

Wikipedia says this about shredder cut types:

*Strip-cut shredders, the least secure, use rotating knives to cut narrow strips as long as the original sheet of paper. Such strips can be reassembled by a determined and patient investigator or adversary, as the product (the destroyed information) of this type of shredder is the least randomized. It also creates the highest volume of waste inasmuch as the chad has the largest surface area and is not compressed.

*Cross-cut or confetti-cut shredders use two contra-rotating drums to cut rectangular, parallelogram, or diamond-shaped (or lozenge) shreds.

*Particle-cut shredders create tiny square or circular pieces.

* Disintegrators and granulators repeatedly cut the paper at random until the particles are small enough to pass through a mesh.

* Hammermills pound the paper through a screen.

*Pierce and Tear Rotating blades pierce the paper and then tear it apart.

*Grinders A rotating shaft with cutting blades grinds the paper until it is small enough to fall through a screen.

The shredded remains of a National Lottery play slip.

There are numerous standards for the security levels of paper shredders, including:

DIN 32757 [6]

Level 1 = 12 mm strips

Level 2 = 6 mm strips

Level 3 = 2 mm strips (Confidential)

Level 4 = 2 x 15 mm particles (Commercially Sensitive)

Level 5 = 0.8 x 12 mm particles (Top Secret or Classified)

Level 6 = 0.8 x 4 mm particles (Top Secret or Classified) (unofficial extension of the DIN 32757-1 standard)

***end Wikipedia excerpt***

*Choose a shredder which meets your security needs as well as the process you are using to dispose of your documents.

Shop for Shredders

Select from a variety of shredders depending on your needs.

Fellowes Powershred PS-67Cs 8 sheet Confetti Cut Shredder
Fellowes Powershred PS-67Cs 8 sheet Confetti Cut Shredder

"Designed for light duty shredding in the home or home office, the Fellowes Powershred PS-67Cs reduces documents to 5/32" x 2" higher security confetti particles, and shreds up to 8 sheets per pass, 25-50 times per day, for a total daily capacity as high as 400 sheets. Equipped with a 9" wide paper entry, the PS-67Cs easily accepts standard letter or legal size documents. The durable steel cutters also accept credit, staples and small paper clips."


Handmade Paper

I still remember a gift a friend gave me years ago.

She made a note card (handmade paper recycled)and embedded flower seeds in it.

After I read it, and enjoyed it a while, I planted it. Soon there were blooms in my yard to remind me of her again.

That is such a beautiful way to recycle.


Ecopaper is often made from


Coffee Beans,

Lemons, and

Recycled Paper.


Now That You are Living the Paperless Life...

You have an option for all of your card stock, letters, journals, and so much more that uses sustainable materials by creating fibers our of renewable resources.


Regarding environmental degradation, the 20 century has been the worst in history. The effects are only comparable to the disaster that caused the extinction of dinosaurs. The causes are, amongst others, the industrial and technological progress, the exponential growth of the world population, lack of legislation and commitment by individuals and institutions. It is expected that for the 21'st century, the world population will be eleven million people.

Globalization and the ever growing demand for food have increased the impact of human activity over the environment. The impact on rivers, the land, seas, and forests and in all ecosystems in general, will be greater. It is important to remember that our planet is a very sensitive and vulnerable system and all that happens in one part of the world has a severe impact in another part.
Awareness of this situation should make us compromise in a personal way and induce us to shift away from consumption habits that affect the environment so strongly. If we all collaborate, we can implement a system of sustainable development which will allow us to inherit our children and grand-children the chance to a good quality life, with satisfaction no lesser that we have had.

We are obliged to at least allow future generations to enjoy rivers and seas that are clean, pure air, abundant forests and the company of species that are in threat of extinction, such as whales, manatees, tigers and parrots.

If it doesn't have the Ecopaper or Costa Rica Natural Logo its not certified Banana Paper. We are the only one's with the rights to use the term "Banana Paper'. Please be aware of imitations.

Traditional Paper Industry

The paper industry represents two percent of the world commerce and the demand increases every day. Paper still is the main form of communication among people, especially in the education field. It also has an infinite number of industrial uses, amongst which we can mention those related with packing and health care.

The cellulose and paper industry uses around one third of total production of wood and this proportion is increasing. Two thirds of the fiber used to make paper comes from virgin fiber and the rest comes from waste fibers. Between 5 and 10% of the derivatives of the cellulose is produced based on fibers that do not come from wood.

Amongst many environmental worries related to the manufacturing of traditional paper, we can mention:

  • Biodiversity loss
  • Replacement of natural or primary woods by tree plantations
  • The insufficient use of waste paper and fibers that do not come from wood
  • The domain of large scale mills that have a great political influence
  • The continuous use of chlorine as a bleach
  • Insufficient research regarding alternative technologies to produce paper in a cleaner way
  • High levels of paper use which are not sustainable, specially in rich countries
  • Systems of paper recollection and exports of paper impact the way of living of paper collectors in poor countries
  • Excessive demand of transport in the commercial cycle of paper
  • The hidden subsidies that promote the use of wood fiber rather than alternative fibers.

Banana`s Agro-Industry

Bananas were probably the first fruit cultivated by man. Historically, it is registered before the Christian age. This plant is even cited in the Coran as the fruit of paradise, under the name Musa ParadisiacaÂ, which is the modern name for plantains. It was spread all over the world and brought to the occidental hemisphere in the XVI century by an Spanish monk.

Ready To Move On?


You have plenty of room cleared out and all the shredded paper is off to artists and crafters.

Lets make room in another area now.

Disposible Paper Products

I have wondered...

Why buy a paper towel that works like cloth, when you could buy cloth?

Paper towels, paper plates, paper cups, and numerous other disposible products are causing more clogging of the land fills than you can imagine.

We are a disposible consumerism generation.

Our grandmothers didn't have disposible paper towels or those disposible diapers with plastic liners.

We can reduce waste by tons a day collectively by giving up one or two paper products at a time. Gradually or overnight, the primary focus is on progress.

Awards and Mission of This Page

Originally published on Squidoo, this lens won a PURPLE STAR! Thank you for the nomination and award. I hope it will continue to assist readers as it lives and evolves on HubPages.

© 2008 Deb Bryan

Paperless Way of Life Made Simple Guestbook

Submit a Comment

  • GypsyOwl profile imageAUTHOR

    Deb Bryan 

    5 years ago from Chico California

    @SusanDeppner: Thank you, Susan! Awesome reminder. I'm going to copy this into the lens so it is easy to find for readers who are going paperless.

  • SusanDeppner profile image

    Susan Deppner 

    5 years ago from Arkansas USA

    Just a reminder if you do scan and save documents. Make SURE that you have an off-site backup for all the files on your computer. We use Carbonite, but there are others. When our house - and computers and external hard drive - burned, it was a very simple matter to recover computer files (including some personal documents) after we replaced the computers.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Great share!

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Great lens!Thanks for sharing and information.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Happy St. Patrick's Day

  • Gayle Mclaughlin profile image


    6 years ago from McLaughlin

    What a unique idea for an article. Very well-written and researched!

  • flicker lm profile image

    flicker lm 

    6 years ago

    Great informational lens! Never knew paper could be made from anything other than wood pulp!

  • chezchazz profile image


    7 years ago from New York

    Great lens and so necessary to do. Blessings. This lens is now featured on "Wing-ing it on Squidoo," our tribute (charity) page to some of the best lenses we've found since donning our wings.

  • Hedremp profile image

    Sandra Wilson 

    7 years ago from Wilson Education Resource Centre

    good advice for people - I think giving them steps will make it easier for them to go green!

  • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

    Nathalie Roy 

    7 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

    I do my best to avoid paper, but it's not easy. Coffee and mango "paper" seems like an interesting alternative. We don't use much paper in a year so even with a more expensive price it still would be ok.

  • GramaBarb profile image


    7 years ago from Vancouver

    Love this lens! We have a papershredder here at the nurses station that we can use at anytime for free.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Excellent tips and resources here!

  • Heather426 profile image

    Heather Burns 

    7 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

    Really awesome! I recycle paper as much as possible!

  • EMangl profile image


    7 years ago

    not easy to avoid paper - no matter that they talked already in the 80th about "paperless offices", postman brings daily lot of unnecessary things printed on paper which could have sent by email or fax ...

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    I definitely need to improve on this paperless life - and your advice will be helpful as I move forward. Thank you!

  • e-xplorations profile image


    7 years ago

    Great lens. Your idea of a "Paperless Office" does makes a lot of sense. Its reduces administrative burdens and save trees at the same time.

  • Dawn Michael PhD profile image

    Dawn Michael 

    7 years ago from Thousand Oaks

    wow your lens is beautiful! I am an organic woman all the way, and I do my best to grow my own food and buy organic and support the cause! The paper is lovely and you know what you are doing with your lens. I am a sexologist and even though many people don't know what that is, I support organic sexual health and I also sell organic products, so hats off to you!

  • Adriana Daniela profile image


    7 years ago from New Market

    Thanks for the ideas. I already started to scan many of the documents that can be stored electronically. I jsut need to get a better scanner (I have an ancient one :()

  • AuthorNormaBudden profile image


    7 years ago

    This is a beautiful lens with some original ideas, for me. I have never heard of paper being created from fruit; that's sensational!

    Your purple star lenses have been featured at

    If you would like to see the other outstanding lensmasters featured throughout my series, please visit

  • rwoman profile image


    7 years ago

    A couple years ago I actually went paperless as a teacher which was a big deal considering the amount of paper that a writing classroom generates! It has also made my life a lot easier. I try not to gloat when I pass my colleagues (especially at this point in the semester) toting armloads of papers.

  • Laddoo LM profile image

    Lloyd Pinto 

    8 years ago from Mumbai

    Blessed by a Squid Angel

  • OhMe profile image

    Nancy Tate Hellams 

    8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

    I am in the process of cleaning out my office and can't believe the amount of paper I have accumulated. It's everywhere in stacks. I have got to take your advice and do some shredding. Thanks and Blessed.

  • GypsyOwl profile imageAUTHOR

    Deb Bryan 

    8 years ago from Chico California

    Hi Jacqueline, Thank You! Great suggestion about cross-cut shredding. The cross-cut shredder I have recommended (aka Confetti Cut ) reduces documents to 5/32" x 2" higher security confetti particles. Great for home use. For High Security I would suggest a second step to the process (composting for example). Your experience with the shredded paper recycling issue is a bit scary. I trust it was a lesson that prompted new policies throughout the business world.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    You have great information here not only on how to go paper-less, but why. I strongly agree about shredding. It's best to use a cross-cut shredder. I once worked at a security company that was hired to repair the damage done when another business got shredded paper for use as package filler. The paper was all clients' personal financial records and you could still read all of it!

  • TopMovieSoundtr profile image


    8 years ago

    Very earth conscious. Hope to get there.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Excellent! Super info! Right now I have about 8 hours of decluttering paper ahead of me! But I won't have that this next year if I am smart! Congratulations on that beautiful purple star! Sprinkled with a little angel dust, too!

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Great lens, and congrats on the purple star, Deborah!

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Congratulation on the purple star! It's a very interesting lens, I discoreved alternative to paper I didn't even know existed.

  • poptastic profile image

    Cynthia Arre 

    8 years ago from Quezon City

    Hi Deborah, I found this lens very inspiring! There are a lot of useful tips in here that I would certainly follow to go the paperless route. EcoPaper's designs are really pretty -- that's such a creative way of reusing what could have easily gone to waste. (:

  • dc64 lm profile image

    dc64 lm 

    9 years ago

    Very good information as well as ecologically important for us today. You've covered topics that I didn't think of or know of, such as making paper from produce. Cool!

  • mistyblue75605 lm profile image

    mistyblue75605 lm 

    9 years ago

    Good eco lens!! 5*'s

  • Mortira profile image


    10 years ago

    I love the idea of a plantable card that grows flowers! What a great way to give green! Thank you for sharing all of these great paper alternatives! 5 stars and a lensroll!

  • AlisonMeacham profile image


    10 years ago

    I do think it is so important to take whatever steps we can towards a greener life.

    You have been Blessed by a Squid Angel

  • GypsyOwl profile imageAUTHOR

    Deb Bryan 

    10 years ago from Chico California

    Ok.. What kind of paper sounds the most yummy? Banana paper or Coffee Bean paper!!! Wouldn't it be delightful to put your favorite banana bread recipe on banana card stock as a gift this year?

    Or... make your own special flavored coffee and include the recipe on card stock made from coffee beans. :D

    Another idea...

    How about the Journals? We all love them and they make great gifts. There are Journals made from banana paper, coffee bean paper, and lemon as well. Yummy! Cheerful Lemon Paper for a Gratitude Journal!!!

    Any other thoughts?

  • CrypticFragment1 profile image

    Tammy Winand 

    10 years ago from McleodGanj HP India

    paperless is great for the environment darlin' ...


    let's just hope computer memory never gets totally corrupted or wiped out w/ an EMP!

  • ZenandChic profile image


    10 years ago

    Don't you just love the computer. Makes life easier, I think. Great lens! 5 *****


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