Before the plethora of digital devices, there was paper. Paper might seem quaint now, but it is still very much a part of our lives and is the ultimate in convenience, and that convenience comes at a large ecological cost. Luckily, reducing our paper waste is one of the easiest green changes to make, but first, we are going to look at some paper facts:
1. 30% – 40% percent of municipal waste is paper, and 50% of office waste going to landfills is paper.
2. A single paper bag uses twice as much energy to make than a plastic bag.
3. 3,000 tons of used paper towel ends up in US landfills every day. That same paper towel uses twice as much C0₂ to make produce than reusable (and prettier!) cloth napkins.
4. Switching to an eFiling, paperless system could save up to 1.4 trillion pounds of paper, 728K trees, and lots of C0₂ if everyone did it.
5. Recycling used paper could save 41K trees and keep 6M tons of waste out of full landfills.
6. Nearly half (42%) of all global wood harvest is destined to become paper.
7. Every US household throws out the equivalent of 4 trees in paper waste!
8. Did you know that recycling one ton of paper saves 20 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, three cubic yards of landfill space, 60 pounds of air pollutants, and saves enough energy to power the average home for six months?
9. A typical takeout lunch consists of 1/3 paper, 1/3 plastic, and 1/3 food (maybe that’s why you’re still hungry!).
10. If every US home replaced just one roll of paper towel with recycled paper towel, we would save 544,000 trees.
11. Every year, the junk mail industry destroys approximately 100 million trees. The production and disposal of junk mail uses up more energy than what is used by 3 million cars! All this just so you can get some mail that you’re probably not going to look at anyway.
Reducing our dependence on paper saves valuable natural resources (not just trees!), reduces greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution, saves energy, and reduces to the need for new landfills and incinerators (source).
It is important for us to change our behavior and start recycling, reducing, and reusing the paper we use (and find alternatives). In our next two posts about paper, “5 Paperless Alternatives” and “Reduce Your Household Paper Consumption,” we will learn how to do just that.
Category: Green Facts