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Goodbye, PPTYVM; Hello, PROTECT

Mark Kollar  Follow

I was addicted to the office printer. Call it old school. Call it lazy. Or better yet, call it selfish.

No matter what, it was a waste of paper and I didn’t seem to care, even though I pride myself in recycling, walking or taking the subway and swearing off single-use plastics.

But I loved printed copies of everything. In fact, in asking Josh in our office to print things, I shorthanded the request to PPTYVM (please print, thank you very much). The requests were too frequent to type it all out. (Times savings: 1; Paper savings: 0)

I then helped launch a program at Prosek called PROTECT, an office-wide initiative that helps us become a more sustainable business. For a company of 225-plus employees in five offices it was a bit of an undertaking: we needed a complete audit of how we use paper, supplies, utilities or pretty much everything that helps us run the business; a review of how we commute and travel; a hard look at how we recycle; and of course, a look at what and how we eat, meet and greet (network).

We instituted some great resource-saving initiatives. We planted trees in Australia, following the recent devastating wildfires, in an effort to become paper neutral and to offset our 25 years of office printing and we started to set metrics and tick off boxes. 

Then COVID-19.

As a PROTECT group working remotely, we still Zoom and talk about how we will re-energize the program when we “get back” and discuss the inherent savings for the firm in product and energy use by remote working. (A quick back-of-the-recycled-napkin calculation shows that our New York office alone is saving more than four trees a month by working printer free.)

And for me, I have been forced to kick the printing habit cold turkey. No more PPTYVM. I have quickly learned out of necessity that I can write decks, proposals and share screens, paper and ink free.

And then I took it one step further. I am now reading all news online and am reading my first book on a Kindle. This will take a little longer to get used to, I must admit. As a former reporter, I still like to read the paper and am known for carrying a stack with me, literally everywhere, like I run a corner newsstand.

Call it folio freedom. Call it a legit green lean. Or better yet, call it a positive habit from remote working that I plan to continue when we do eventually get back to the office.

For me, I hope it’s only the beginning. I encourage others to take remote working as a way to develop sustainable practices that can become part of a new office life. No more PP, but I will always stick with TYVM. 

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