We all know that when it comes to creating a sustainable future, everyone has their part to play - and that includes educators. The paperless movement is rapidly gaining support worldwide, with many schools choosing to transform classrooms into a paper-free zone.
Less paper = more trees, which directly benefits the environment, but there are so many more advantages of reducing (or even eliminating) paper. We've researched the key statistics and insights around reducing paper use, and explored 4 benefits for schools.
The 4 undeniable benefits of going paperless in schools (or simply reducing paper)
Reducing waste and creating a sustainable future
First things first: there's no denying that going paperless helps to save the environment and reduce waste.
In Australia, we use over 4 million tonnes of paper every year. On average, that's 230kg of paper per person, and of this 4 million, nearly half isn't recycled.
However, the impact of Australia's paper use goes beyond just trees. It takes 24 trees and 90,000 litres of water to produce one tonne of printer paper, as well as large amounts of electricity and oil. Paper that isn't recycled also contributes to landfill, and pollutants in the air.
By going paperless in the classroom, you're directly contributing to reducing waste, water, and power use - and providing a cleaner and more sustainable world for our children in the future.
Save time for teachers and administration...
From printing and stapling together handouts and tests, to filing forms and letters, paperwork takes up a lot of time for teachers and admin teams - time that could otherwise be spent developing students, and working on bigger school projects.
In schools, around 10% of time is used for reporting and managing student services, and fulfilling paperwork, while less than 1% goes to evaluating curriculums, fundraising, and professional development.
By switching to digital tools, such as a central digital system, information flows faster, can be tracked and recovered, and is always in the right hands - which in turn boosts productivity and saves valuable time.
This way, your teams spend less effort on managing paperwork and chasing up documents, and have more time to focus on supporting students, working with parents, and contributing to your school community.
...and reduce costs at the same time
The benefits of going paperless in schools reach beyond just saving time and the environment - going paperless also helps your school save money. Between buying reams of paper to photocopying, filing, and printing, the costs of using paper quickly add up - in fact, some educators estimate that schools spend between $30,000 - $50,000 a year. Other industries which have gone paperless, such as government, have saved close to $1.3 million.
While digital tools still need some investment, the costs for these platforms are far less than your average printing and paper costs, plus they boost efficiency - which means you'll have more budget and time to invest in your students, teachers, and classrooms.
Bringing the classroom into the digital age (and beyond)
Beyond the environmental and economic effects, going paperless also helps prepare your students for the future.
Between the federal government's $2.4 billion investment into technologies and software in schools, to the iPads for Learning program in Victoria, it's clear that there is more investment to equip schools with the tools needed for learning and development in the 21st century.
By investing in technology and software, students - and the wider school community - develop digital literacy skills, which will set them up with the right foundations to succeed in our increasingly tech-savvy world.
Over to you
At the end of the day, there are plenty of benefits of going paperless in schools, from saving time and money, to saving the environment and enhancing digital literacy. Using less paper (or even going entirely paperless) is a win-win for your students and teachers, as well as the wider school community, and the environment.
Whether you’re looking to reduce paper or striving towards nurturing a supportive school community, you’ll love our monthly newsletter for educators and school leaders. We deliver fresh insights, updates and news straight to your inbox! Simply pop your details below to join the community!