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April 12, 2012
-- It’s tax season again, and as you rush to finish your returns on time, Waste Management encourages everyone to Think Green. Reduce your environmental impact by recycling paperwork you don’t need to keep, or filing your return electronically. Here are some tips to help you save time, clean up your files and help the environment this tax season:
• File Electronically:
Last year, 100 million taxpayers used e-file for their individual tax returns, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). To help save paper, the IRS is encouraging even more taxpayers to file their returns electronically this year. E-filing eliminates the need to print and mail all your final documents, saving dozens of sheets of paper on your return. You can also get your refund faster when you file electronically. The IRS offers free e-file to all taxpayers with guaranteed safety and security. Visit the IRS e-file site for more information, or ask your tax professional about their e-file options.
• Move to Digital: Make filing your tax returns greener and more efficient by scanning important hard-copy materials into a digital file. Save the file and a backup copy for safety. Then, shred and recycle all excess paperwork including folders, old checks, deposit slips and other items that you won’t need hard copies of any longer. For information on the exact tax materials you should keep on hand and how long to keep them, consult your tax professional or the Internal Revenue Service.
• Shred and Recycle: If you are filing your taxes the traditional way, you can still think green. Start by sorting the essential tax paperwork you need to keep on hand. Shred anything that you don’t need to keep all of your confidential information private. Empty the contents of your home or office shredder into a plain paper bag and place the sealed bag into your recycle container. Placing it in a paper bag prevents shredded paper from being caught in the wind and ensures it will be properly recycled.
“E-filing your tax return is a great way to limit your environmental impact during tax season,” said Stephanie Regagnon, spokesperson for Waste Management. “If you print documents, Waste Management encourages you to recycle unwanted and unnecessary paperwork. Recycling just one extra ton of paper saves enough energy to power the average American home for six months and saves three cubic yards of landfill space or more.”
A few simple steps this tax season will help you recycle more and keep additional items out of landfills. Many Waste Management communities across the area offer single-stream recycling programs that allow you to put your shredded materials in bins with cans, bottles, plastics and more. Waste Management recycles more than 10 million tons of commodities annually. To find out what can be recycled in your area or for more information on recycling, visit www.wm.com or www.thinkgreenfromhome.com. In addition, be sure to follow Waste Management on Twitter and Facebook for additional recycling information.