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Paper waste – Why do you need to save paper?

Paper waste

Why do you need to save paper?

Paper has such a long and illustrious history and it has shaped our civilisations and societies for centuries. Paper has formed the basis of education & art and has helped spread religion.

Do you want to understand how to save paper? Read on.

Being such a vital resource, you would think it would be used carefully and treated with respect. But mass production seems to reduce an object’s value. For example, original manuscripts vs printed books or handmade clothing vs mass produced clothing.

paper waste bundled - save paper

Shocking paper statistics

  • 14% of deforestation happens for paper & cardboard production and 40% of commercially cut timber is for production of paper.
  • 20 litres of water is used to produce a sheet of A4.
  • 26% of the waste generated every year is paper (based on 2014 statistics).
  • 12% of all energy used in the industrial sector is used in paper products manufacturing.

3 reasons why you need to reduce paper waste:

1. Deforestation

Paper comes from trees. Trees are cut down to make paper. When these trees are in a wild forest, it’s called deforestation. Deforestation impacts on:

  • The animals, birds & insects that live off those trees are made homeless.
  • The soil is weakened which causes mud slides.
  • There is more carbon-dioxide and less oxygen for us to breathe.
save paper saves trees - picture of a cut tree.

Deforestation generates more climate change emissions than global transport!

2. Water use

Making fresh paper or recycling paper, the process consumes a lot of water. It also generates toxic chemicals waste that ends up polluting our rivers,  waterways & soil.

A hidden side to the paper production is planting fast growing trees like the Eucalyptus for the purpose of cutting them down. These trees suck up a lot of water & dry out all the surrounding land causing severe water shortages in the region.

save paper picture of glacier and water

Pulp and paper production is the third largest industrial polluter of air, water and soil.

3. Air we breathe

Most traditional factories have detrimental impact on the air quality. With paper product production, these factories emit dust, smoke, fumes & gases which affect air quality.

From UK government website: “Paper and cardboard businesses can emit dust, smoke, fumes and gases which affect air quality. These can include oxides of nitrogen (NOx), sulphur (SOx) & carbon (COx), formaldehydes, ammonia, solvents, chloroform, and odorous substances.

save paper | air pollution

Paper emits methane as it rots and carbon dioxide when it is burned or composted

With all these issues in mind, we still use paper as a throwaway resource.
Kitchen tissue or kitchen roll, whatever you call it, lives for less than 5 minutes from the time it’s torn off the roll to when it lands in the bin. Isn’t there a better alternative to this? What’s the simplest way to save paper? ??

Some further reading

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