Friday File Fling

Lise Summers Friday, November 11, 2011 - 15:17 As part of National Recycling Week a number of State and Local Government organisations have organised Friday File Flings - http://recyclingweek.planetark.org/fff/participants.cfm.  It's great to see so many organisations involved in this initiative, particularly if you were able to use the opportunity to promote Records Management and the use of your Retention and Disposal Schedule (R&D). But what happens to the files that were flung, and those that weren't?  How does an R&D help with the message of reduce, reuse and recycle?   As we've said in previous blogs, an R&D identifes all the records created by an organisation and determines how long they should be kept for.  Records that have outlived their use are often sent to offsite storage, and then linger there, long after their disposal date.  Conducting an annual review of an R&D, as part of Friday File Fling, or some other significant date, ensures that organisations are not paying for storage for records un-necessarily, and reduces the costs to government of this sort of storage.    Once records have been identified as being ready for disposal, via destruction, we recommend that paper records be pulped.  They can then be recycled as paper waste for the creation of paper products such as envelopes, hand towels, bags, cardboard cartons and the like - even some recycled paper, suitable for ephemeral or short term records, or used in other paper pulp products.  Recycled paper, using paper pulp at least, is not suited for long term or archival records.   The R&D also identifies records that need special storage conditions, such as archives and long term records and e-records, and enables organisations to make decisions about how they should be stored, avoiding costly conservation treatments or the risk of poor migration projects further down the line.  The best archival paper is itself a recycled product.  Paper produced from cotton or linen rags is used for high quality artworks and archival documents.  Even archives produced with woodpulp have an ongoing environmental benefit, as the paper acts as a carbon sink.   And records that have been stored appropriately, that end up in the State archives collection, continue to be re-used for a multitude of different purposes.   Remember - R&Duse to reduce, recycle and re-use!   Lise Summers Senior Archivist