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Paperless Way of Life Made Simple

I have been going green for most of my life. Steps I take to gradually live a paperless life. I will add to the list periodically.

Image Credit: CC0 Licensed by Deb Bryan (Deborah "GypsyOwl" Bryan) for the Paperless Way of Life Made Simple! publication.

Image Credit: CC0 Licensed by Deb Bryan (Deborah "GypsyOwl" Bryan) for the Paperless Way of Life Made Simple! publication.

Simple Ways to Go Paperless Forever!

This article will give you ideas for going paperless at home, at the office, and everywhere in between. Ways to substitute traditional 'paper' products with sustainable items. How to recycle, reuse, and minimize your paper product consumption. How to lighten up your physical file storage by keeping only the essential and required physical documents.

Be sure to create a permanent digital record of everything before you shred it to recycle (and BACK IT UP). Be sure to discover how to recycle shredded paper to make beautiful homemade 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: CC0 Licensed for Deb Bryan (Deborah "GypsyOwl" Bryan) for this article.

What is in this article?

Simple Ways to Go Paperless Forever!

Moving Forward Paperless Notes

Why Rocketbook

Where to buy Rocketbook

Before You Go Paperless - There Are Some Legal Issues

The Equipment Needed

Shredder Cut Type Defined

Disposable vs Reusable LIST

Awards and Mission of This Page

Moving Forward Paperless Notes

Rocketbooks come in a variety of styles for taking notes, uploading to the cloud (with an app), and then wiping them off to reuse.

Rocketbooks come in a variety of styles for taking notes, uploading to the cloud (with an app), and then wiping them off to reuse.

Why Rocketbook

If you use a bullet journal, planner, notebook, or other tools and enjoy this process but are gradually green-minded and don't want to use paper, you can use a Reusable SmartBook. The Rocketbook is one of the options available to switch to a greener way while continuing to enjoy the process of writing everything out during the day.

Planners, Notebooks, Lists, and more!

If Rocketbook doesn't have the page layout you would like to have there are also some options for customization. Which is where the Community and Support come in handy. The developers are listening and updating, but, in the meantime, there are User groups from various fields (students, teachers, to name a couple) who create together.

Rocketbook (RB) has several styles to fit most needs.

The concept is to stop using paper. The process is to take your notes (planner, lined, dot, grid, matrix, etc) and then scan into the APP to upload to the destination you designate. Then wipe off the page and reuse it again, and again. The developer provides amazing support as well as User community, continuing development, and more! I've discovered some ideas about personalizing my Rocketbooks. And modifications so I can scan NON-Rocketbook notes and papers I need but would be ok in digital form.

One way to Reduce Paper around your home or office using RB App is:

1. Create a clear transparent sheet (vellum works great) with a dark frame around it (a permanent marker or black construction paper works well for example), You will need a barcode (print it out) or beacons (buy them or make them from ORANGE post-it notes cut in half).

2. Next: Put the notes you want to scan under the transparent sheet. Write your ##file-name## on the clear sheet.

3.Then scan to your chosen destination.

4. Lastly, erase the file name.

Repeat this for every paper (note, report, etc) that you would like to upload into the Rocketbook App. Recycle your scanned notes with a shredder, to use in compost - check materials in the paper for safety - crafts (that is where most of my shredded paper is going recently). Some of the modifications I have made: I accidentally used a permanent marker on a few pages of an Everlast Mini (a Rocketbook) and thought I was using the erasable pen that came with it. After many brainstorms, I decided to cover the side of 8 pages I ruined with a design (printed on lightweight photo paper and an inkjet printer). The next step is to identify the best adhesive to use to apply the design. The modified pages will become dividers in my mini (which also is getting a crocheted cover and binding - but that is also another topic). Message me if you would like updates about the crafty modifications or the adhesive update.

Decluttering Paper

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:

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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 destroy 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...

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 ---->

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 Scan

Scanners come in a variety of forms. There are apps, printers with scanners, portable scanners, and more. The item you select will depend on your needs.

Around the first time, I was scanning to reduce paper I had chosen a portable scanner. It was a Canon I believe. It has a memory card so anything that went through it was stored on the card. I selected that one because I wanted to help Mom with some things she wanted digital (to keep copies of photos for example).

Today I am using the deck on top of my Canon printer. This helps me to make better use of space (I can put several small items on one letter-size sheet for example). Today I am scanning to my Rocketbook App (which has several destinations set up so what I scan will go where I need it stored). I use Google Drive, Trello, and Dropbox as well as using two email addresses (so one of my routine reports is sent through the app directly to the person who needs it - fewer steps).

To Shred

Shredding your paper before recycling has several benefits. The first is the security of your personal information. Then there is the ease that it can be recycled by your local artists and craftspeople. 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 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 that specializes in the 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 that meets your security needs as well as the process you are using to dispose of your documents.

Handmade Paper

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

She made a notecard (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.

When to use an Ecopaper

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 of renewable resources.

There are also REUSABLE options such as the Rocketbook (erasable ink) scan to an app option.

About (the inspiration for this article's birth in 2008)

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 on 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 on 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.

Traditional Paper Industry

The paper industry represents two percent of 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 to 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 come 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, especially in rich countries
  • Systems of paper recollection and exports of the paper impact the way of living of paper collectors in poor countries
  • Excessive demand for 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 a 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.

Disposable vs Reusable LIST

We are a disposable consumerism generation

I have wondered... have you?

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

Paper towels, paper plates, paper cups, and numerous other disposable products are causing more clogging of the landfills and waterways than you can imagine.

Our grandmothers didn't have disposable paper towels or disposable 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.

Some additional everyday disposable items (paper and plastic) I have replaced with reusable alternatives are:

  • Coffee Filter (one filter has lasted about two years so far with light rinsing and occasional warm soap water wash with a soft brush),
  • Spice Jars (reusable glass jars made for spices, then buy recyclable biodegradable packaged spices or fresh spices),
  • Net Vegetable Bags (instead of using the plastic bags in the vegetable section at the store I have net bags. They are also great for storing in the refrigerator as they breathe),
  • Straws (stainless steep washable instead of paper or plastic disposable)

Leave a comment with your favorites! I will come back to add a few more. I know there are many I haven't listed yet. I will walk around my home and make a list so I don't forget to add them here.

If you use a shopping bag when you shop which material do you use?