Tons of paper produced
In the world, this year
In today’s electronic age, people are starting to consider going paperless. But there’s still a long way to go before we lose our dependence on this very important human product.
From our newspapers to our paper wrappings, paper is still everywhere and most of them are ending up in our landfills creating a staggering amount of paper waste. There was a time when paper was a rare and precious commodity. Now it fills our planet. It was initially invented as a tool for communication, but today, paper is used more for packaging.
To produce paper takes twice the energy used to produce a plastic bag. Everything takes energy to produce.
In the case of paper, it also involves cutting down trees. Deforestation is one of the main environmental problems we’re facing in these times. 14% of all global wood harvest is used to make paper. Is it really worth it to cut down our life saving trees for this product?
Let us share with you these interesting paper waste facts. We are so used to seeing products in their completed form that we seldom think of how they are made and what happens after we dispose of them.
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.
In North America, many paper companies are now modifying their processes to reduce the formation of dioxins. Dioxin is a toxic by-product of the manufacture of paper and it is a carcinogen. We are now seeking renewable sources of paper so we don’t have to cut down our beautiful life-giving trees.
What can you do from your end to reduce paper pollution and waste?
As a consumer, the way you use and dispose of paper and other paper products greatly affect our paper waste. These small efforts on your part will be a valuable contribution in the resolution of our pollution problems today.