How to Save Paper
Even in the technological age, we still use so much paper from day to day. And it’s not surprising that the versatile material is still such a huge part of our lives.
Paper making began in China as early as 200 BC, when paper would be made from tree bark, scraps of linen and hemp.
Modern paper making techniques involve pressing together moist cellulose pulp from wood, rags, or grasses, and drying them in sheets.
From newspapers to packaging, paper is a valuable resource. But we’re wasting it, and it’s damaging the planet.
The destruction of the amazon
In the time it takes you to read this, an area of rainforest larger than 200 football pitches will have been destroyed. In the past 40 years, almost 20% of the Amazon has been cut down. Experts say that if this continues, another 20% will be destroyed in the next 20 years.
This has huge implications for the environment, as the trees of the rainforests absorb much of the harmful greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, and produce oxygen to sustain life on our planet.
What can be done?
We all use so many electronic devices these days, and a lot of information is produced and stored digitally. But there is still plenty of paper around, from junk mail, to newspapers to faxes. So how can you save paper?
Save scrap paper
Leave it next to the phone or on your work desk so you can jot things down. From to do lists to shopping lists, make sure you have made full use of the paper before it goes in your recycling.
Give scrap paper to the kids to draw on, or use it in crafty projects to keep them amused in the school holidays.
Make cat litter
If you soak shredded old newspapers in detergent and baking soda, and leave it to dry, this makes an effective alternative to cat litter. This saves you money and reduces waste. What’s not to love?
Pack with paper
If you are sending something fragile through the post, why not pack it with newspaper to protect it during transit?
Reuse wrapping paper
Wrapping paper can be hard to recycle, especially if there is glitter on it, so why not keep it in good condition and reuse it where possible?
Stop junk mail
Contact the mail preference service and have your name removed from mailing lists so that you get less unsolicited mail through your door. Whenever you apply for something online, always tick the box to say that you want to opt out of receiving marketing material.
Choose to pay your bills by direct debit and ask for online bank statements rather than paper ones.
Donate your old magazines
Give your old magazines to dentist or doctor’s surgeries, or anywhere where there is a waiting room and you will probably find that they are gratefully accepted.
Borrow books or buy them second-hand
Buy books second-hand from a charity shop, a jumble sale or a second-hand bookshop, or you can always download e-books or borrow books from your local library.
Figures suggest that most workplaces could reduce their paper usage by 20% if they made some adjustments. It makes good business sense too, as if less paper is used, there are less costs involved due to printing, postage costs, and disposal.
Think before you print
Printing every single document is wasteful, so ask yourself, do I really need to print this?
Use both sides of paper
Set printing to double-sided on your printer, and only print one-sided when you really need to.
Use email or the phone instead of sending letters, and request to receive documents electronically where possible.
Purchase recycled paper
Ensure that you always purchase products and new paper made from recycled paper. This preserves resources and energy, and it creates less pollution.