05/24/2010 05:41 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Four New Ways to Save Paper

We've all heard, ad nauseam, the traditional commands to save paper: recycle, print double-sided, don't use more than you need. And so on. By now, I'm going to assume, you're looking for a fresh stock of ideas for your green-living arsenal.

With that in mind, I've compiled four new tips about how to cut down on paper use. There are many reasons to, perhaps the foremost of which is that much of climate change is caused by deforestation. Also, paper production consumes a lot of energy, paper mills are big polluters, and thrown-away sheets clog landfills. So here's what you can do:
1. Post a Reminder

We know you wouldn't use more paper towels or napkins than you need - but what about everyone else? Engage in some minor guerrilla tactics by ordering a stash of these wonderful stickers, which you can post on paper-towel dispensers in public restrooms, or anywhere else paper products are dispensed, to remind people that, as the stickers say, "These come from trees." Each of these little pieces of positive propaganda, say its creators, saves 100 pounds of paper per year. Plus, profits are donated to the Sierra Club. Want to start combating mindless napkin-pulling right away? Get creative and make your own reminder signs to post.

2. Opt for Hemp

It's Hemp History Week, and while hemp has a controversial history in the U.S., buying paper made of hemp instead of trees isn't illegal. And it's certainly a lot more environmental, considering that as a crop, hemp needs no pesticides, grows back quickly, and preserves the soil it's in better than most commercially grown plants do. No trees need to be killed for a hemp-paper product such as this one or this one.

3. Cure "Bagnesia"

It happened again: You were in line at the grocery store, satisfied with your organic, vegetarian, not-too-packaged purchases. Then it hit you: A vision of your reusable grocery bags -- collecting dust in your car's trunk or kitchen cupboard. You sighed and lugged home your loot in bags of paper or plastic, swearing to remember better next time.

To help you, consider getting Bagnesia's Reusable Bag Solution Kit ($20), which includes two reusable bags, plus two ways to remind yourself to bring 'em along: a doorknob hanger that instructs, "Grab your bags," and a steering-wheel wrap with the same imperative. To save the cash, you can develop your own reminder system -- as long as it works.

4. Go Electronic

The rise of e-mail has saved forests' worth of trees. Which is great -- but perhaps it's time to take the paper-saving up another notch. Are you willing to rethink social graces traditionally carried out with paper? If you're planning a wedding, say, would you consider making your save-the-dates electronic? How about the actual invitations? Can thank-you cards be e-mailed instead of produced, bought, and delivered? How do you feel about sending electronic special-occasion cards, like for this upcoming Father's Day? A Google search turns up plenty of services for sending online greetings; a high-quality choice is Pingg, which stocks stunning nature imagery.

Please comment: What are your innovative tips to save paper?