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Jumpstart Your “Go Paperless” Initiative With These 14 Statistics


What’s the rate of paper pushing in your office? Is paper plastered on cubicles, piled up in to-do trays, and flying out of copiers and fax machines? If so, your office is (unfortunately) not alone – 31% of offices are still piled high with paper, and are prisoners to it. And for many, it’s not getting better; instead, usage is only projected to increase.

Wondering what you can do to get a paperless initiative picking up steam in your office? Compliance regulations and a fond familiarity with paper are common objections to why going paperless isn’t possible, but many times these are surface-level excuses.If you’re needing to give your organization a push toward going paperless, we’re here to help! Here are some mind-blowing statistics about paper, and what you can do to achieve a full return on investment for such initiatives:

Mind-Blowing Statistics About Paper

Waste in the Workplace

1. A typical office worker makes 61 trips per week to the fax machine, printer, and copier

2. An average of 4 weeks is lost each year waiting on misfiled, mislabeled, untracked, or lost documents (Gartner)

3. Every year, $25-35 billion is spent in the U.S. on filing, storing, and retrieving paper (IDC)

4. Every 4-drawer file cabinet holds between 10,000-12,000 documents, occupies around 9 square feet of floor space. and costs $1,500 yearly to maintain (source)

5. Paper, in the average business, is growing by 22% a year, meaning your paper usage will double in 3.3 years (source)

6. Pulp and paper is the third largest industrial polluter to air, water, and land in both Canada and the United States, and releases well over 100 million kg of toxic pollution each year (source)

7. If the current rate of deforestation continues, it will take less than 100 years to destroy all the rainforests on the earth (source)

8. Each year, enough paper is thrown away to make a 12’ wall from New York to California (University of Colorado)

Paperless Obstacles

9. An InfoTrends annual survey of 250 businesses found that in 2015, of the businesses falling short of their paperless adoption targets, 37% had compliance concerns that impacted their ability to go paperless. 33% of this group stated that they were restricted by regulations in their industries. 

10. Needing to get a physical signature holds up 42% of processes, which adds, on average, 3.1 days to most processes.

11. 80% of UK businesses are printing documents just to get them signed! This figure rises to an alarming 90% in financial services and public sector businesses. Is this necessary? No. Pen-to-paper signatures are rarely a legal requirement. Doug Miles, head of AIIM’s Market Intelligence Unit explains, “The laws on this have been standardised in most jurisdictions for ten if not 20 years.”  Digital signatures can replace “wet ink” signatures, being legally valid, and are arguably more secure, through the fact that they can be made tamper-proof (invalidated if the content of the signed document is altered). (YouGov report)

Achieving ROI

12. 59% of businesses going paperless achieved full ROI in less than 12 months; 84% achieved payback in less than 18 months. (McKinsey)

13. Going paperless can improve staff productivity by nearly 30%. (AIIM market survey)

14. Printing accounts for 10% of IT-related energy use – this can be eliminated by going paperless. (source)

Are You Ready to Go Paperless?

It’s clear that paper is not only affecting your day-to-day productivity, but also the environment. Without the right initiatives, this consumption will only serve to produce more harmful chemicals in the environment and to clog up the workplace with unnecessary bottlenecks.

Digital signatures have been just as secure, if not more so, than physical ones for a while. See the potential for your office in a paperless atmosphere – with more productivity, value, and revenue-generating activities – today. Learn more by requesting a custom demo.




A leader in Enterprise Automation software, DocuPhase delivers document management, workflow automation, and capture tools designed to help your enterprise stay organized and meet evolving technology and business needs.