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by Jodi Lee
We use so much paper in our house, it’s absurd. With two budding artists for children, I can’t bring myself to crush their beautiful spirits as they explore with paints, pastels, markers, and crayons with paper. SO much paper. While I may feel like I’m drowning in a sea of paper, offices are the largest consumers of paper. In fact, the average American office worker uses a four foot stack in a year. Paper and paper products accounts for more than 1/3 of all waste in both Canada and the US.#1
That’s a lot of trees. Every tree provides oxygen enough for 3 people to
How can we work together to reduce our carbon footprint when it comes to paper products?
Rethink: Choose recycled paper in the first place. Recycled paper requires 64% less energy than making paper from virgin wood pulp.#3
Reduce: Think twice before printing. Do you really need a copy of that email in a real file folder in real filing cabinet, or will virtual filing be fine? If you must print, shrink the font and enlarge the margins so more fits onto one page – especially if you’re just reviewing something and will have to print the final copy later.
Reuse: Always double side your print outs. I will use old sheets and print new drafts on the opposite sides.
If offices throughout the US increased the rate of two-sided photocopying from the 1991 figure of 20% to 60%, they could save the equivalent of about 15 million trees --- 60 square kilometer forest, 360,000 tons of CO2 a year, 450,000 tons of air pollution per year, gain almost 1,950,000 tons of oxygen per year.#4
Recycle: Pull out the blue box and fill it up. Recycling one ton of paper saves 682.5 gallons of oil, 7,000 gallons of water, 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space.#5
We can and must be more creative with our green solutions. Try these ideas to reduce your carbon footprint, reduce global warming, lower your costs, and reduce your waste.
Take our going green assessment today and learn how you can reduce your carbon footprint even more.
1. Environment Canada
2. North Carolina Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling
3. Energy Educators of Ontario, 1993
4. Choose to Reuse by Nikki & David Goldbeck, 1995, Earth 911 2004
5. Waste Reduction is a Smart Business Decision, Onondaga Resource Recovery Agency, 1998