You might not know this, but paper usage is a serious environmental issue. Most of you have heard of why we need to reduce paper usage, but do you actually understand the impact of it? One alarming stat says that 93% of paper comes from trees. That’s not all, the same research found that 42% of all global wood harvesting is for paper. Too many trees are being cut down, and for what? Something that really doesn’t hold the same significance it did a few decades ago.
The simple fact is that we still use too much paper. Things need to be done to change this and to change it fast. Yes, some companies plant trees when they harvest them. But that’s not nearly enough to achieve sustainability.
Whenever you’re told to cut down on using anything, your brain instantly tells you it’s impossible. How am I possibly going to do this? Look around you right now, and you’ll see paper everywhere. It seems like an essential item, yet there are many ideas and small changes that help you reduce paper usage.
Go digital wherever possible
Look at the paper objects around you, then ask yourself if you could get the same use, but digitally. For example, the book you’re reading – can’t you just read an ebook instead? That notepad on your desk – why don’t you download an app on your phone and keep your notes there? Not everything can be digitized, but you’ll be amazed at how many trees can be spared if you used digital alternatives.
Look for more reusable alternatives
On a similar train of thought, a big issue with paper is that it’s not really reusable. Once you’ve written on a piece of paper, you can’t wipe it clean and start again. This forces you to keep buying more paper or getting notebooks full of thousands of pages to write on. Instead, you can reduce paper usage by looking for more reusable alternatives. Digital variants fall under this umbrella, but there’s another option to consider: whiteboards. If you want to go old school, nobody will stop you from using some chalk and a blackboard either! The benefit of these things is that you can make notes, draw on them, then wipe them clean and go again. It’s perfect for students writing notes, people that want to visualize a daily schedule, brainstorming, etc.
The argument against this is that you lose everything you’ve written. Well, you can rectify this by taking a picture of the notes on your phone – simple.
Swap paper for eco-friendly paper
Regular paper isn’t good for the environment, but that doesn’t mean all paper is bad. You will find an impressive array of eco-friendlier alternatives to try. Things like hemp or bamboo paper are popular, but even recycled paper is better than the regular stuff. You’ll also be intrigued to see how you can apply this to different things in life. It’s not just about getting eco-friendly notepads, hell, even smokers can swap to hemp wraps and reduce their paper usage! By opting for more eco-friendly paper, you prevent the need for trees to be cut down.
Take your time when printing things out
This is something that affects quite a lot of you reading this. How many times have you printed things from your computer, only to realize there were errors. Perhaps you made spelling mistakes, maybe you formatted the page wrong, or possibly the printer ran out of ink midway through. In any of these cases, what do you do? That’s right, you correct the problems and print once more. It doesn’t seem like a big issue, but you can waste so many sheets of paper doing this. If you took some extra time to double and triple check things before printing them, you’d save so much paper.
Hang on, how will this reduce paper usage? If you’ve already bought a stack of paper, why does it matter how much of it you use? Well, it’s simply a case of making the paper last longer. If you need paper for something, the best approach is to make it last for as long as possible. This prevents the need to keep buying more, which reduces your overall paper usage.
It’s really not that hard to stop using paper. Some people are going completely paperless, but that’s still unachievable for most of you. Still, use any of these tips to make small changes to your paper usage. If anything, this is one of the easiest things we can all do to have a positive impact on the environment.