Carbon Heroes: Papercut

Carbon Heroes: Papercut

Can you tell us a little about yourself and the inspirations behind your brand?

PaperCut Software was founded on the drive for sustainability. While working as a high school SysAdmin, our CEO and co-founder Chris Dance was emptying overflowing recycling bins daily. At first, it appeared to be the one user behavior he couldn’t fix. But he was determined to do something about it. 

Chris enlisted the help of his housemate and our other co-founder Matt Doran, the pair wrote some code and created PaperCut print management software. That was more than 20 years ago. It started as something small for one school and grew in momentum. Not only was it limiting waste but it started our movement of thoughtful printing. 

Our print management software gives organizations control, tracking, and security when printing. PaperCut helps organizations administer print costs, user experience, user management, and print environment flexibility. 

Our message of thoughtful printing and its environmental impact is delivered via our software’s User Interface (UI) which presents users with environmental widgets and statistics that show your printing’s impact on the environment. 

But PaperCut creates more than software. We’re a disruptive organization filled with former SysAdmins who understand thoughtful printing and the importance of creativity. Our mission isn’t to stop printing, but to minimize waste. Our software empowers users to print simply and easily, transforming their behaviour and decisions at the printer while reducing their printing’s environmental impact.

“I like to think we’re the coolest company in one of the most boring parts of IT.” 

Chris Dance, CEO & Co-Founder

Why is caring for the environment important to you?

8,333 pieces of paper make up one tree. Not one sheet should be wasted. That’s a common goal all PaperCutters share. Print management is often difficult and frustrating and can quickly lead to out of control wastage. As a company of problem solvers, PaperCutters — what we call our team — thrive to provide a simple solution and enjoyable user experience while reducing waste and having a positive impact on the environment. 

Many PaperCutters joined our company because of our environmental values. We are driven to contribute to a better, more sustainable way of working, learning, and living. We’re passionate about printing software, and we see its crossover with environmental sustainability as a win-win. We get to tinker in an often-overlooked realm of IT while having a lasting impact on our planet.

Watch PaperCutters around the world share their sustainability stories: https://youtu.be/RAiXBkqwZ2c

A pile of green grass

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An image from Papercuts “PaperCutters” planting trees program

What motivates you to support Carbon Positive Australia’s work in particular?

We are proud our software helps people save paper, and therefore trees. So it makes perfect sense for us to support an organisation dedicated to the conservation of natural habitats. It was an opportunity to live our values and walk the talk of our environmentally minded culture. 

In fact, the entire initiative was led by one PaperCutter, Jess Graves. PaperCut owes our involvement with Carbon Positive Australia to Jess, whose passion and dedication is an example of what we strive to support at PaperCut. We want to live the action we promote in our values as a company, and also empower our people to do the same. 

Supporting Carbon Positive Australia provides the chance for us to take our paper-saving one step further into direct action which creates a sustainable future. It’s something real and palpable (rather than pulpable) that we know is having an impact. 

Every page matters, and therefore every tree and inch of forest life matters. To be a part of preserving that for future generations was an incredible opportunity for us as a company. From little things, big things grow.  If every company contributes to something small like this, then it all adds up to something big.

Are there any other green initiatives that your organisation is working on?

Sustainability is a pillar of our organization’s culture. We have a variety of green initiatives led by the company, and projects led by individual PaperCutters. 

All of our Portland, London, and Melbourne offices have environmental working groups who ensure we follow sustainable work practices when it comes to waste management and recycling. We have a dedicated Slack channel for sharing information and tips on environmental topics such as home composting and growing herbs.

Pre-pandemic, all offices had environmental guides to improve daily recycling (i.e. separating hard and soft plastics). Our London office set up timers for signage and devices to automatically turn off. They also reduced the printing of internal communications to not waste paper or toner. In Portland, last year their environmental group helped their office reach the City of Portland Sustainability at Work Silver Certification. Here in Melbourne, back when we were in the office we grew herbs on the deck for all PaperCutters.

Those are just a few examples internally. Additionally, across all our offices, all PaperCutters are entitled to two paid days of volunteer leave every year. Many PaperCutters spend this day engaging in environmental initiatives. 

We’re constantly seeking more environmental initiatives. When we can return to the office our offices look forward to resuming our various sustainability efforts and starting some new ones. 

A group of people sitting in a tree

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Papercuts “PaperCutters” planting trees as a part of their volunteer leave program

Do you have any environmental goals that you would like to achieve? If yes, how and by when?

As a tech company, we want our software to continue having a positive environmental impact, we want to continue encouraging thoughtful printing so we reduce wasteful printing, and we want to continue saving trees. 

One of our largest environmental goals is to become carbon neutral across our Melbourne, London, and Portland offices. We’re not quite there yet, but we are striving towards it.

On a smaller level, we hope to continue to spread the practice of thoughtful printing so it’s baked-in as part of user behaviour i.e. filters that automatically convert jobs to duplex, greyscale etc, amongst other simple fixes in the user’s hands.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our supporters?

Thoughtful printing starts at your fingertips. Print management software is a magnificent tool to cut out wasteful printing, but everyone can start eliminating waste by changing their own printing behaviour. 

Our CEO Chris Dance compiled 10 tips to save paper that anybody can start implementing today.Saving paper is only one way to reduce waste in your printing environment. We have a resource full of thoughtful printing tools on Waste Control.

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