That Great, Silent Carbon Emitter: Paper 

Photo courtesy document-management-software.com

If this article doesn’t convince you to use less paper and recycle more of it at your place of work, well...

The Guardian writer Tony Juniper states that “...paper is everywhere. We use more and more of it and its impact is huge.”

How huge?

“Paper manufacture consumes vast quantities of water. Chemicals are used to boost fast-growing monoculture plantations, and pulp mills discharge huge quantities of chemicals. In terms of energy consumption in its production, paper equals steel.

Combine this with deforestation and emissions from landfill and we find that the pulp and paper industry contributes around 10% of global carbon emissions – that's about three times global aviation emissions.”

Juniper goes on to site a Xerox study that found that office workers trash a massive 45 percent of the paper printed each day. Each. Day.

He references another study by ForestEthics that states

“Greenhouse gases created each year by junk mail are the annual equivalent of more than nine million cars. The average car travels 12,000 miles per year -- as opposed to junk mail, which gets us nowhere.”

Adds Juniper:

“While we are increasingly aware of the emissions from our cars, how many people are cutting down on paper? How many companies correctly account for their paper footprint in their CRS reports?”

What can you and I do? Well, Juniper says, we can “[s]tart by not printing this post, or indeed anything else, unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

We second that idea.



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