Aspire Spring 2021

Paper’s Out, Digital’s in


Follow this timeline to make the switch.

If you revel in the smell of a new book or a tidy paper cabinet, going paperless may seem a daunting, unnecessary task. But research shows paper is more foe than friend. Physical documents can increase your risk of identity theft, allowing criminals to steal personal information directly from your recycling bin or letterbox. Paper isn’t great for our planet, either. Producing a single sheet of it guzzles nearly three gallons of water. And each year, we cut down 100 million trees for direct-mail advertising. Fortunately, going paperless is easier than you think – just take it one week at a time.

Paperless pointers

Permanently store birth and death certificates, marriage certificates, divorce decrees and other important records.

Week 1

Opt out of junk mail and catalogue lists with services like the Mailing Preference Service.

Week 2

Choose e-statements for your credit cards, bank accounts, investments and utility companies, and other important accounts. However, first ensure that if you ever require a paper copy, one can be obtained from your provider.

Week 3

Download apps to help: Todoist, Google Drive, Dropbox, Adobe Reader and more have the functionality to ensure you can still fulfil your everyday tasks at the touch of a button.

Week 4

Sort, purge and organise existing paperwork. Tackle a small stack each day.

Week 5

Scan documents using your phone, then store them on a hard drive and label them for easy access. Explore secure document storage and sharing services (e.g. Microsoft OneDrive or Box) to help protect your privacy.

Week 6

Rethink your habits. Go for digital newspaper and magazine subscriptions. Switch paper cards for e-cards. Swap bulky books for an e-book reader.


In the UK, we use over 12.5 million tonnes of paper each year. That’s equivalent to a forest the size of Wales.

Sources: moneycrashers.com; “Uncle John’s Certified Organic Bathroom Reader” by Bathroom Readers’ Institute; thebalance.com; paperontherocks.com; theatlantic.com; nerdwallet.com; sccmo.org; consumerreports.org; https://www.recyclingbins.co.uk

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