10 apr 2024

Survey: How do Americans feel about the problem of overusing paper

For Earth Day 2024, the award-winning app for scanning and managing documents iScanner, conducted a survey of American users. We surveyed 336 iScanner users in March 2024. The results showed Americans’ attitudes toward the problem of overusing paper, common practices of paper usage, and barriers to reducing paper. See some important insights from the report below and get the full report here.

Please rate the significance of the following environmental issues for you. 

Respondents rated paper overuse as a less important environmental issue than others mentioned. Only 31% answered that this ecological problem is fairly or highly important. Americans pay more attention to problems with water pollution (42%) and air pollution (40%).

How do you feel about paper (physical documents, books, journals, letters, etc.)?

The majority of respondents (60%) try to minimize paper in everyday life. Meanwhile, over 11% of respondents say they enjoy using paper because of its tactility and convenience. And only 8% have completely switched to digital.

How exactly do you reduce paper consumption?

The most common and effective methods respondents employ include scanning and sharing documents electronically (67%), editing and signing documents in a mobile application (53%), printing on both sides of paper (45%), and utilizing electronic tools for note-taking (51%) and electronic calendars (51%).

In addition, respondents mentioned strategies such as paying with an electronic wallet and switching from paper items to electronic receipts, ink tablets, and audio books.

In which areas do you find it easiest to reduce paper usage?

Respondents noticed that the easiest areas to reduce paper are filling out forms and applications (57%), and editing and signing contracts, invoices, and other business documents (47%). Meanwhile, the hardest area to switch from paper usage is packaging, including avoiding the use of paper cups.

Respondents provided insights about the reasons that prevent switching from paper and are barriers. These insights included a preference for paper due to its tactility and convenience, inability to afford note-taking and journaling tools due to their expensive prices, and requirements for using paper documents in a specific industry (e.g., finance).

These studies formed the basis for the development of a new iScanner feature. From April 2024, users will be able to earn eco-badges and see how many trees they have been able to save by sharing documents electronically instead of printing them. This initiative aims to establish a deeper emotional connection between daily paper decisions and their impact on nature.