If you’re someone who makes the effort to recycle, drives an eco-friendly car, and is always conscientious of your environmental footprint, then you most likely are open to other ways of helping to protect the environment. We’d like to recommend one you might not think is very important: reducing your paper consumption. Now, you may be thinking, “Why does it matter? I can always recycle the paper, and that helps to protect the environment.”
While this may be true—and we do strongly recommend that you recycle any paper that you use instead of throwing it away—unnecessary paper consumption can still have a big negative impact on the environment. Here are just some of the statistics showing how paper is Mother Nature’s worst enemy:
- The United States alone cuts down approximately 68 million trees every year just to make paper and paper products. That’s a lot of deforestation for a product that you could easily be using less of in your office.
- The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper every year. If you’re one of these, then you alone kill 1.2 trees every year that you’re not reducing your paper usage.
- Every year, the US alone produces enough paper waste to fill 571,429 full-sized garbage trucks.
- Companies that rely on paper produce 26 million tons of landfill waste every year. We would hope they’d start recycling some of that, but even then, it’s better to cut back.
- North America is responsible for more than 1/3 of the world’s paper consumption.
- The paper manufacturing industry is the third largest user of fossil fuels in the world. They also produce more waste per pound of finished product than any other product manufacturer.
- Only 45% of all paper waste in the United States is recycled.
- Americans discard enough office paper every year to build a 12-foot-tall wall from New York to California.
- To give paper its white color, manufacturers use chlorine gas to bleach the paper. This produces dioxin, which is usually released into the wastewater of paper plants. Dioxin is a known carcinogen and has proven immunological, developmental, and neurological effects on humans.
Sure, paper could be recycled more, but that wouldn’t eliminate all of the negative effects related to paper production. The best option is to eliminate your reliance on paper as much as you possibly can, especially in the business world, where paper usage is a part of daily processes. By taking your company into the paperless era, you’ll be saving yourself time and money while helping to preserve the environment.
So start doing your part by going paperless. And as we say at eFileCabinet, “Save the trees!”