Departments and offices are strongly encouraged to conduct paper audit exercises voluntarily and regularly. A paper audit tool in MS Excel format with instructions is available for their use to help them complete all steps of the auditing process.
You are advised to conduct paper audits regularly and define an appropriate auditing interval. This helps to bring about an accurate assessment of your office’s paper consumption pattern. An auditing period that covers three (3) months is the most preferred option, which means you can conduct paper audits at quarterly intervals.
During any auditing session, you are suggested to take actions as listed below:
In order to track paper consumption pattern and behavior within the office, you should collect two categories of information. By then you will be able to obtain a comprehensive and systematic analysis. You can make use of the paper audit tool to help you record down the information.
A. Internal office-use printing paper consumption
You will be able to monitor the office-use printing paper consumption in your office if you follow these:
- Record down information about the types of paper your office holds, including:
- size of paper – A series from A0 to A4 (these are the most common type of office-use printing paper)
- nature – recycled paper/non-recycled paper/FSC-certified paper
- color – white or color
- weight – measured in GSM
- Record down the initial paper stock balance of all office-use printing paper (in reams) owned by your office at the beginning of your defined auditing period.
- Record down the quantities of paper newly purchased (in reams) during your defined auditing period.
- Record down the paper stock balance of all office-use printing paper (in reams) owned by your office at the end of your defined auditing period.
- Record down additional or supplementary information that may be useful to aid your understanding.
By going through these steps, you will be able to learn the net amount of office-use printing paper consumed in the auditing period, and the specifications of paper types. To ensure accuracy, you are advised to include records of all paper acquired no matter from suppliers on PolyU’s list of blanket agreement or from external stationery shops. You are also advised to include all paper for use by network printers, printers at general office, standalone printers owned by individual staff or printers for common access like student computer rooms.
B. Printed matters / publications
The following three easy steps will guide and help you to record how your office arranges production of publications:
- Record down every entry of printed matters/publications made during your defined auditing period, and be specific about the nature of the printed matters/publications, such as:
- suppliers/contractors – whether they are commissioned to the Reprographic Unit (RU) of the Communications and Public Affairs Office (CPA) or arranged externally to contractors, production houses, design houses or agents during your defined auditing period
- type and nature – here is a list of suggested items for you to include/exclude:
- Items to include: Book, Brochure, Calendar, Certificate, Flyer, Form, Leaflet, Letter, Letterhead, Notes, Poster, Report
- Items to exclude: Backdrop, Banner, Compliment slip, Examination answer book, Examination question paper, Examination notification letter, Invitation card, Name card, Packing paper and material, Photo, Brown envelope, Red packets, Sticker, Table stand, Ticket, Other items which are not mentioned in the inclusion list
Inclusion list Exclusion list
- Compliment slip
- Examination answer book
- Examination question paper
- Examination notification letter
- Invitation card
- Name card
- Packing paper and material
- Brown envelope
- Red packets
- Table stand
- Other items which are not mentioned in the inclusion list
- printing arrangement – size, single-sided printing or double-sided printing
- more description – information to aid your understanding, e.g., purpose of the printed matter/publication, target readers, distribution purpose
- Record down the number of sheets per each copy/entry of the printed matters and publications produced during your defined auditing period. Note that one sheet of paper means two pages.
- Record down the number of quantities produced during your defined auditing period.
Once you have all such information, you will be able to understand the net amount of paper being used/printed in the form of publications during your defined auditing period.
Conducting paper audits is the first step in identifying opportunities to reduce paper consumption. You are strongly encouraged to conduct paper audits regularly. By gathering information over a particular time period, you will be able to reach a comprehensive analysis of paper consumption and publications in your office as well as the associated costs. Such information constitutes the baseline data about how much paper was purchased and consumed. Through a careful review, your office will then be able to determine priorities on its paper purchase and production of publications.