Montgomery County has saved roughly 3.8 million trees. (Sean Kelly/SEAN KELLY)

David Dise is a paper assassin, though he doesn’t exactly welcome that title.

“Paper nag,” he said.


Anyway, Dise is the director of Montgomery County’s Department of General Services. In that capacity, he’s been asked to reduce paper use. By a lot. The goal: Save money, save trees, save the world.

“We simply don’t need to print the vast majority of things that we print,” said Dise. (Including newspapers? Hmmm.) “We need to maximize technology.”

He’s been nagging departments throughout the cash-strapped county, even the libraries, which have switched to e-mail notifications for reserve items. The recreation department prints its recreation guides only by subscription.

Nipping around the corners here and there is adding up. Paper use in fiscal year 2011 was down nearly 40 percent compared with 2008. The savings: $6.3 million. The county says it has saved the equivalent of 3.8 million trees and eliminated 11,700 garbage trucks full of trash.

“I see a lot more people carrying iPads and laptops into meetings,” Dise said. “I’ll guarantee that most people trying to reduce their paper use have yet to fully exploit the technology as a way to do that.”

I had to ask Dise: How do you read The Washington Post?

“Online,” he said.

And so it goes.