Barbara Day Sort
Barrister & Solicitor
1105 Surfside Drive
Qualicum Beach, BC V9K 2B6
I was pleased to see more talk of green in CBA publications lately. This (with slight modifications) was published recently in the Victoria Bar email newsletter, the Praecipe.
To keep as green as possible, in my home-based law office, I do, inter alia, the following:
- I only buy refillable pens;
- I double-side copies or documents whenever I can;
- I make “micro” copies (ie 8 pages on one copied page) for documents I won't likely need to look at again, but merely have to store (ie all the letters, report on title, etc. on closing of a real estate deal) - I also do this with emailed documents sent to me - I can print 4/page;
- I print email double-sided (or smaller), if I print them at all;
- I reuse paper for notes or notepads that does not have any client information on it;
- I shred all paper that has client information on it and then bring it to the local potter to reuse for his pottery;
- I recycle the rest of the paper;
- In my letters on a real estate conveyance, I ask that originals NOT be sent to me (as they were already faxed to me and the other lawyer will then have the originals if they are ever needed - this only works with EFS filings) as part of my firm's CO2 reduction policy (as a challenge to other law firms);
- I ask my ink cartridge supplier to ensure my empty cartridges are recycled when I give them back to them;
- I try to reduce energy consumption by having my monitor go off after a few minutes with no use;
- I also try to reduce energy consumption by turning the power bar for my computer and monitor off each night, as just being plugged in takes energy;
- My copier/fax/scanner/printer goes into energy save mode after no use for an hour or so, but still takes faxes on this mode;
- I just went through 31 boxes from the first 6 years of my 16 year practice here and I am reusing both the metal prong fasteners and quite a few of the file folders, along with the boxes. I know the shredder companies will take the whole file, prongs, box and all, but I like to do the little bit of extra work and take the prongs out and save the boxes for the next batches of files to go to storage (my heated crawl space);
- Being home-based, I don't buy lunches or drinks out, which saves on disposable dishes, etc. and I don't have to drive to work!
I know that a lot of lawyers try to be green, but from what I see, there are a lot who do not. I get one page letters from local lawyers in the mail that could easily have been faxed, saving an envelope (paper, plastic) and CO2 for trucking. I see standard mortgage terms that are 50 pages coming in single-sided. They can easily be double-sided. If the clients are older, I will double-side them, if they are younger, I will either email the terms to them (then nobody has to print them!) or print them double-sided, but 2 pages/page, thus saving 3/4 of the paper.
Most of the "green" things that I do actually save money, so for those thinking that it will cost more, it doesn't.
I read recently that it takes 10 litres of water to produce one piece of paper. That is astounding and we need to think of that fact each time we use a piece of paper. Since lawyers do need to use a lot of paper, we need to use it as wisely and conservatively as possible.
Barbara Day Sort
[posted July 8, 2009]