Paper waste is a major problem worldwide. An estimated seven trees are cut down. per person, per year in the United States to provide the amount of paper that person uses in one year. And the worst part is most of the paper is ending up in a landfill rather than being recycled. Fortunately, there are simple steps that we can all take to greatly reduce our paper consumption.
- Get Off of Direct Mail Lists - 100 million trees and 28 million gallons of water are being used to make junk mail annually. The US has an estimated 4.6 million tons of junk mail per year and it is estimated that nearly 50% of it is not recycled, but is thrown in the trash. NativeForest.org has an easy to follow, 5 step guide to help greatly reduce the amount of junk mail that you receive. Check it out here! You can remove yourself from catalog lists here and credit card and insurance solicitations here. For a small fee 41pounds.org will contact dozens of direct marketers on your behalf.
- Request to Not Receive a Telephone Book - If you are like most people these days and look up telephone numbers online or with your phone, request to stop receiving them and recycle any old ones that you have lying around. You can also ask your telephone book company to start using recycled paper and other eco-friendly practices.
- Cancel Newspaper and Magazine Subscriptions - Read your paper online or visit the library to read the newspaper or your favorite magazine. Many libraries have a place where you can pick up free magazines, and they are often that months issue too.
- Practice Green Gift Wrapping - Imagine how much wrapping paper ends up in the landfills each Christmas and that's only one holiday. Always reuse gift bags and even gift wrap. Try wrapping gifts in old newspapers, magazines, telephone book pages, paper grocery bags or scrap material.
- Reduce Home Paper Use - Make the switch to cloth napkins and cloth towels, always use both sides of paper, buy in bulk when possible to reduce packaging waste, request e-mail statements for your bills and recycle, recycle, recycle!
- Reduce Office Paper Use - Never print anything unless it is absolutely necessary, always print on both sides of the paper, cut used paper to use as scratch paper, make computer files rather than paper files whenever possible, encourage employees to bring in their own coffee mugs instead of using paper cups, use recycled paper in your printers and once again, recycle, recycle, recycle! For more information on reducing office waste, check out this site.
- Plant Trees - Plant at least seven trees per year to make up for the average seven that we are all using. You can plant locally or support reforestation projects in other countries where clear cutting has greatly affected their eco-system.