November's World Paper Free Day raised the question of whether or not the world ever can be totally paper-free.

Could the world ever be 100% free of paper?

Can you imagine a world without paper?

World Paper Free Day on November 6th raised the question of whether or not the world can ever be 100 per cent free from paper.

Steps are being made around the world to use document scanning and the cloud so that organisations can make the move to paperless, but a full transition is yet to be made by many, which has us wondering if a paper-free world could ever be a reality.

Here, we speculate at what a paper-free world would look like, while also discussing where paper can have benefits for businesses and consumers.

A paper-free world

Figures released by the charity WRAP - which stands for Waste and Resources Action Program - to coincide with this year's World Paper-Free Day showed that the average office worker uses as many as 45 sheets of paper each day, with over half of this being thrown away as waste, rather than recycled.

What's more, 31 per cent of global business executives believe there is too much paper in their office.

John Mancini, president of AIIM, commented: "It is hard to believe that in 2015, so many of us are still so reliant on paper.

"It is slow, inefficient and terrible for the environment. There are much better options available, with more and more technology dedicated to reducing use of paper."

Nowadays, thanks to the development of digital, there is no need for smaller-sized businesses to be overcome with paper, as they can easily complete and store all of their work via the cloud.

Some countries, such as India, are striving to make their government and associated offices 100 per cent paperless, while in the UK, the NHS is working to transfer all of its documents and files to digital storage by 2018.

These examples provide hope that other governments and large-scale organisations can transition to paperless in the near future, although it will be a few years until these visions become a reality due to the size of the task at hand.

In addition, as firms become more focused on big data and the insights it can give them, moving this information to one central digital location can help them to get the best possible results from it. In fact, statistics show that between 2006 and 2011, the volume of data the world had access to increased ten-fold.

Where is paper still needed?

However, some believe that paper is still required in certain settings.

For example, there is evidence to suggest that reading information on paper rather than from a screen can help people to absorb it better, while older workers may respond better to receiving paper documents alongside digital versions.

Furthermore, while typing may have overtaken handwriting in many parts of life, being able to write with pen and paper is still a valuable skill that needs to be taught in schools, which means a 100 per cent paper-free world could never become a reality. Yet this doesn't mean great strides can't be made to significantly reduce paper usage around the world.

Mr Mancini concluded: "We will never get rid of paper entirely, but the volume used unnecessarily every day is mind-blowing."

Contact Storetec today to learn more about how we can help your organisation to dramatically reduce its paper usage.

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