Paperless society?-A A +A
By Rox Peña
Thursday, September 20, 2012
THE Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is going paperless.
As announced in their website, the agency introduced an in-house document management system that facilitates digital archiving and retrieval of office documents and forms. This will enable them to save on paper, printer toner, and photocopying services.
SBMA’s move is not unique. Many offices around the world are implementing the same paperless transaction. At the UP Open University where I took my master’s degree, all our discussions, assignments, projects and exams – except for the finals - are done online.
Undoubtedly, the use of electronic documentation systems and the internet are shrinking the paper market. With modern technology, documents can be made, filled-up, accessed, filed, revised and discarded electronically. With e-commerce, transactions like billing, registration, application, renewal, shopping and payment can be done online.
Affected by the paperless trend are newspapers and books. All the major daily newspapers now have an internet edition where news is reported as it happened. They even have a mobile edition for cell phones. Books on the other hand, can be bought, read and stored online. No need for a physical library.
With the increasing use of the internet, advertising is shifting from printed to electronic. Less printed ads means less paper usage. A few years back, the local dailies reduced the width of their newspaper from 27 inches to 25 inches. Did you notice it? That’s a big decrease in volume for paper manufacturers.
But while the printing paper sector is experiencing decreasing demand, the packaging sector is growing. More goods are being produced, so more packaging is needed. With the plastic ban ordinances being implemented by local government units, paper bags are increasingly becoming popular too.
Other paper products that are not expected to be wiped out by e transactions are tissue paper, paper towel and napkins. These sanitary products are here to stay. Same is true with paper cups, fast-food takeout boxes and wrappers.
So are we heading towards a paperless society? Is paper, one of the great inventions in the 2nd century, heading towards extinction? Maybe, not in the near future. It’s more likely a less-paper society. Many still want to physically hold their newspapers while taking breakfast. Many offices still prefer hard copies of documents. Paper bills, land titles and passports can’t be replaced by electronic files -- at least for now.
Our role therefore is to maximize the recovery and recycling of paper to eliminate waste and help the environment. While paper is biodegradable, it is prudent to recycle it to save energy and water and avoid the cutting of trees.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on September 21, 2012.