ZW alternative to single use customer form

Have you ever filled a form whom the only purpose is to be re-copied by a secretary only a few minutes later into a computer? Those customer forms (survey, pre-consultation, tests…) have a useful life of fewer than 5 minutes and can represent a significant use of resources. Let’s explore two Zero Waste alternatives to single-use customer forms.

1.  Typical scenario

Before a consultation in a clinic, or before a meeting in an office, or after a conference, patients or customers might be asked to fill a form.

The secretary hands over a wooden board holding a sheet of paper and a pen. After a few minutes, the patient or customer returns the form to the secretary who will copy the details into the software. The paper sheet is then discarded.

The useful life of this piece of paper was only a few minutes. Are there better and longer-term alternatives?

2.  Simplest alternative

The easiest and cheapest alternative is to use a plasticised form and give the patient or customer a washable ink pen.

The only difference with the original way of doing is that, once the secretary has copied the details into the software, he or she can simply wash the form with a humidified tissue.

Obviously, do not use disposables (like napkins or paper tissues) to clean the form as it would defeat the purpose.

To go one step further, you can use refillable pens to reduce waste on this side as well.

In this case, savings include:

  • Paper,
  • Electricity and ink from printer.

Capital investment for this alternative: ~$2/sheet.

3.  Another alternative

Another alternative could include tablets, so the secretary does not need to spend time re-copying details written by the individuals, making the data treatment easier and more efficient.

To maintain a minimal impact on carbon emission and resource usage, for this type of application (customer form), purchase second-hand tablets instead of a new one.

In this case, savings include:

  • Paper,
  • Electricity and ink from printer
  • Pens.

Note that this opportunity might consume more energy because of the tablets.

Also, in the long-term, this opportunity will contribute to the e-waste generation.

Capital investment for this alternative: >$100/tablet.

Which alternative is the most suitable? It will depend on your needs and priorities, and how you can make your work more efficient and of better quality.

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About Zero Waste City

Zero Waste City is a consulting business specialised in waste reduction for commercial and industrial facilities. We help companies to save money by reducing waste and to achieve Zero Waste goals. Our services include:

Our services include:

  • Waste audit (quantifying waste streams and identifying immediate cost saving opportunities)
  • Compliance with regulations such as:
    • Mandatory Packaging Reporting
    • Mandatory Waste Reporting
    • Mandatory Food Waste Segregation
  • Project implementation and on-going support
  • Measurement and Verification of savings
  • Guidance to achieve Zero Waste goals and certifications.