How Much Paper is Wasted at Events?


It’s no secret that production companies consume large quantities of paper running live events and corporate meetings.  The very nature of live events is to chart out a plan, print & distribute the plan, rehearse and make changes… print it out and then do it all over again..

It’s estimated that every year in the United States businesses use approximately four million tons of paper, or close to 800,000,000 sheets of A4-sized copy paper… over 68,000,0001 trees. Of the 10,000 pieces of paper the average office worker uses in a year, half (45%) of those sheets will land in the trash.  With each wasted page carrying a cost of $.06 a page, this means the average office worker tosses around $270 into the landfill every year. And that’s just the wasted paper, a study by Xerox2 estimates that American businesses spend around $460 billion dollars per year in salaries just to manage and process paper-based information:

“Just managing the paper side of information overload can equate to five hours a week, or labor that costs $460 billion in the U.S. in 2008. If only 20% of that time is dealing with conversions to and from paper, that’s nearly $100 billion.”



The trend, for events in particular, is moving to cloud storage options like Dropbox, Google Drive & Shoflo that can replace that $2,0003 a year file cabinet by allowing team collaboration and continuous updating. By focusing on running a sustainable event, Oracle was able to save $858,6384 in costs on a recent event.  For the 2010 International AIDS Conference, the organizers were able to save $53,0005 by not printing programs & more.

In the production & event planning side of events, you’re guaranteed to find a range of documents including scripts, cue sheets, schedules, agendas, photos, show flows and more--most of which will need to be printed and distributed multiple times to every crew member.  Shoflo, a cloud based tool for event planners, keeps event schedules & run downs updated across multiple devices. With the frequency of last second changes on show site, Shoflo helps teams reduce billable hours while reducing paper waste.


Even if you only revise each show once per event, around 1 ream of paper (500 sheets6) will have been printed for the run of shows alone (not including schedules, agendas, and supporting documents.)  Perform 16 events a year, and one tree will have been used in creating the supporting documents for your productions.

As the event industry continues moving towards cloud collaboration services like Dropbox & Shoflo, we will see not only the paper waste shrink… but wasted man hours as well.

To learn more about Shoflo, head on our to our website, Like Us on Facebook, Follow Us on Twitter, watch this video, or schedule a live, one on one demonstration of the software.
For more information on how to plan sustainable events: