Reduce Paper Use, Befriend Our Planet

Last week, we showed you a quick and easy way to calculate your carbon footprint. Was your number higher than expected?

Cutting down on paper use is one of the easiest ways to lower your carbon footprint. In fact, in today’s electronic world, there’s almost no excuse for purchasing ream after ream of paper or mega cartridges of printer ink.

Yet still, North America accounts for over a third of the world’s overall paper use. Not only is this practice wasteful, but it’s also costly for both our wallets and our planet, as paper waste/pollution contributes to global warming and climate change.

Below, find a few of our top tips for reducing paper consumption:

Go Electronic: Most things that were paper-centric are now available in e-format – everything from reports and receipts, to bank records and bill paying. Try to cut as much paper out of your life as possible by signing up for e-billing, backing up important files on an external hard drive or via cloud technology, and participating in online banking. Not only are these measures great for reducing your carbon footprint, they also make life just a little less of a hassle (who has time to address an envelope, anyway?!).

Unsubscribe From Junk Postal Mail: Eliminate some of the trash in your life and reduce carbon emissions at the same time by unsubscribing from junk mail. On a similar note, be selective about the magazine subscriptions/newspapers you receive in hard copy – many of these publications (if not all of them) offer online, e-versions as well.

In the Home: At home, make the switch to cloth napkins that can be re-used. Keep old dishtowels and bath towels and cut worn out apparel into strips for cleaning. Cut down on post-it notes by utilizing a white board for grocery lists, memos, etc. Avoid paper plates, paper cups and plastic utensils by using traditional silverware that can be washed and re-used.

Purchase a Tablet: There are a number of different tablets on the market that make everything from reading a book to browsing through a magazine a more eco-friendly activity. Don’t replace one evil with another, however! Be sure to charge your tablet only as necessary, and turn it off to conserve power when it’s not in use.

Recycle: When you must use paper, try to print on both sides and keep mis-prints to use for scrap paper, notes, or arts and crafts projects. Be sure that you’re doing your part to reduce, reuse, and recycle – recycle old newspapers, magazines, and junk mail, and make sure that you’re tossing all acceptable paper products in the blue bin instead of the trash. Whenever possible, try to purchase paper products that are made from recycled materials instead of their traditional counterparts.

Do you have a question or comment to add on this topic? We’d love to hear your thoughts, as well as suggestions for solutions to the problem of human causes of climate change. Let us know in the comments, below or via Facebook and/or Twitter!

Resources:

http://www.visionofearth.org/live-green/31-ways-to-reduce-paper-usage/

http://www.id2.ca/downloads/eco-design-paper-facts.pdf

http://156.98.19.245/paper/

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