Paper has been an integral part of our cultural development and is essential for modern life. Look around and notice how much of what surrounds you is made of paper…the most obvious is printed materials such as newspapers, books and magazines. But look even further and notice packaging, office paper, tissue paper, toilet paper, gift wrap, envelopes, cards, maps and the list goes on and on…[portfolio_slideshow id=485 size=custom height=150]
So, why is it that so many people seem to have turned on paper? Mainly from misleading and inaccurate information about deforestation, excessive energy consumption, and crowded landfill sites. However, with a little more information, it becomes clear that paper isn’t the cause of environmental destruction. Below are a few key reasons why paper is good.
For starters making paper does not destroy forests. In fact 1.7 million trees are planted every DAY. When you think about it, it makes sense…if we don’t ensure a steady supply of raw materials, how can we continue to provide the products that people rely on every day?
And the people who make paper have made great strides in reducing overall energy consumption and protecting natural forests. That is why there is currently 750 million acres of forests in the US, about the same as 100 years ago, and the annual growth of U.S. forests is 36% higher than tree removal.
The planting of new trees helps rid the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and replaces it with oxygen – a vital element for sustaining life on this planet. Planting new trees can also combat global warming—for every ton of wood a forest produces, 1.5 tons of CO2 is removed from the air. Have you ever wondered why a walk through a forest can give you a sense of well being.
Like most industrial conversion processes, making paper does consume a lot of energy. Burning fossil fuels such as natural gas, oil and coal is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, but the pulp and paper industry largely uses renewable energy sources that are considered carbon neutral and continues to increase energy efficiency to reduce their carbon footprint.
Paper has often been accused of taking up excess landfill space. However, due to the successes of recycling programs, increased community awareness and individual commitments, 63.5% of all paper manufactured in the US in 2010 was collected for recycling.—this compares to metal at 35%, glass at 27% and plastic at 8%.Video comes from the paperbecause.com website
When you receive a business card, postcard, brochure, invitation, or any kind of printed materials — think of a well-managed forest in a sustainable industry with a natural product.