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Blueink eSignatures vs. Paper Signatures: Assessing the Environmental Impact

By BlueInk | 4-28-2023 | Business Process

As our world continues to digitize, an increasing number of businesses and organizations are adopting electronic signatures to optimize their document workflows. However, some may question whether electronic signatures are genuinely more eco-friendly than traditional paper signatures. In this article, we will examine the environmental effects of both paper and electronic signatures and evaluate which method is more sustainable.

Environmental Consequences of Paper Signatures

Traditional paper signatures necessitate printing, mailing, and physically storing documents, which can have a considerable impact on the environment. Here are some ways in which paper signatures affect the environment:

  • Deforestation: Paper production involves cutting down trees. The World Wildlife Fund reports that approximately 17% of the Amazon rainforest has been lost in the past 50 years due to increased pulpwood demand for paper products.
  • Energy consumption: Paper production requires substantial energy, from processing wood to transporting the final product. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that the paper industry is the third-largest energy consumer in the US manufacturing sector.
  • Water usage: Paper production demands large quantities of water. The World Wildlife Fund estimates that manufacturing one ton of paper requires between 10,000 and 20,000 gallons of water.
  • Waste: Paper waste is a significant environmental concern. The EPA reveals that paper and paperboard products constitute the largest portion of municipal solid waste in the United States.

Environmental Consequences of Electronic Signatures

In contrast, electronic signatures require no paper or physical storage, as they are stored electronically and can be accessed and signed from anywhere with an internet connection. Here are some ways electronic signatures impact the environment:

  • Reduced paper usage: Electronic signatures negate the need for printing physical copies of documents, considerably reducing paper usage and its associated environmental effects.
  • Reduced energy consumption: Electronic signatures consume less energy than paper signatures. The EPA suggests that electronic signatures can decrease energy consumption by up to 60%.
  • Reduced water usage: Unlike paper production, electronic signatures do not require any water.
  • Reduced waste: Electronic signatures also minimize waste since they eliminate the need to store or dispose of physical documents.

Blueink eSignatures and Their Environmental Benefits

Blueink is an e-signature solution offering various features to help businesses and organizations lessen their environmental impact. Here are some ways Blueink contributes to sustainability:

  • Smart Link Forms: Blueink’s Smart Link Forms enable businesses and organizations to transform any document into a clickable URL for electronic access and signing. This feature decreases paper usage and waste.
  • Real-time Dashboard: Blueink’s Real-time Dashboard grants businesses and organizations a comprehensive view of their document management process, allowing them to monitor document progress and ensure timely signing. This eliminates the need for physical documents and associated paper waste.
  • Customizable Templates: Blueink offers customizable templates for businesses and organizations, including branding and logos. This ensures professional and consistent documents, reducing the need for reprints and related waste.
  • Bulk Send: Blueink’s Bulk Send feature allows businesses and organizations to send documents to multiple recipients simultaneously, minimizing the need for multiple copies of the same document.


Ultimately, electronic signatures, such as those provided by Blueink, are more environmentally friendly than traditional paper signatures. Electronic signatures decrease paper usage, energy consumption, water usage, and waste. By adopting electronic signatures, businesses and organizations can significantly reduce their environmental impact while enhancing their document workflows.