Eco-friendly translation work

Trying to help the

environment does not mean

a major effort


So World Water Day and International Forest Day were both this week.   It’s actually world meteorological day today.   A time I think to consider how eco-minded translators can be in producing their translations.   Again this is something we should think about every day not just one day a year.   Production of paper requires a lot of water. Even more so for coloured paper but you don’t really need that do you?

I admit I like to print out while I’m translating as it is can be difficult to read off the screen for long periods and I personally think it’s easier to run through things with a pen, things you might miss on screen, especially if it’s a text only a few pages long.

I print double-sided though my printer is fairly basic so I have to do half the pages and turn them around and put them in again to print the other side.  It’s not much effort and whatever helps right?   I then shred the paper and use the shredded paper for other purposes.   You’d be surprised what shredded paper can be used for.  In any case, the confidentiality of the document is assured!!  If it doesn’t need to be printed, it’s not.  If it’s printed but not confidential, it’s reused in some way.

I’m also old fashioned and like to keep agendas even if I can put everything on my laptop or phone calendar (what if either of these are nicked? Touch wood!).  This is where I’m ‘stumped’ : ).   What do you do with old agendas, address books, or diaries (I have a few travel diaries which I’ll never shred)? Shred them I think.

My inexpensive flat-pack desk is, according to the box it came in, a product of sustainably-managed forests and controlled materials.  All these cardboard boxes these things (flat-packs, televisions, laptops) come in can also be re-used or recycled.  In addition to this and general recycling of rubbish, there is probably more I can do besides so don’t think I’m smugly giving myself a pat on the back here.    A report a few weeks ago that Ireland’s recyclable waste is often turned back from a European waste recycling centre in Holland for being contaminated was bad news for our eco reputation as a country. But why is it even going to Holland? That’s even worse surely from the carbon footprint side of things.  All those trucks travelling to Holland and then coming back (whether with an empty truck or the rejected waste).

What do you as translators or other freelancers do at home or in your office environment to help out?


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