Environmental effects of paper waste
Deforestation is the primary effect of our mindless use of paper. Conservation groups have made an admirable headway in protecting ecologically rich forests and limiting commercial access. This is great progress for mankind! Just imagine how long a tree will grow to its full size…. We are only just realizing the wasted use of our trees - trees that give off oxygen and protect the planet from further Global Warming.
Paper pollution is another effect of paper waste and it’s a serious problem. It is estimated that by 2020, paper mills will be producing 500,000,000 tons of paper and paperboard each year! We obviously need this product and a reduction of use is not in the horizon. Pulp and paper is the 3rd largest industrial polluter of air, water and soil. Chlorine-based bleaches are used during production which results in toxic materials being released into our water, air and soil. When paper rots, it emits methane gas which is 25 times more toxic than CO2.
Why is it important to reduce paper use?
To make a difference for the planet and the climate—and to save a lot of money too—reducing your “paper footprint” is the only way to go.
By using less paper, you can reduce your impact on forests, cut energy use and climate change emissions, limit water, air and other pollution and produce less waste.
Reducing your demand for paper will also help lessen the social impacts and human rights abuses linked to paper production.
The climate benefits of reducing paper consumption are significant. For example if the U.S. cut its office paper use by just a mere 10 percent, or 490,000 metric tons, greenhouse gas emissions would fall by 1.45 million metric tons. This is the equivalent of taking 280,000 cars off the road for a year.
Using less paper also helps ensure we use only our fair share of the earth’s resources. Think how much better the world would be if current levels of paper production were used to make books for schools in poor nations instead of wasted on unnecessary office printouts and junk mail.