Paper Consumption Worldwide
The digital age of emails, text messaging, video calls and on demand virtual content has made our lives much easier and less dependent on having information to be printed on paper. We transact online from banking to booking flights and hotels. But instead of seeing a decrease in demand for paper and its consumption, our global paper production and waste has doubled since 1980.
Each year, we produce more than 300 million tons of paper. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, printing and writing papers typically found in a school or office environment such as copier paper, computer printouts and notepads, comprise the largest category of paper product consumption. This is an alarming figure considering the advanced technology of today’s world that is specifically designed to help offices go paperless.
Paper and the Environment
How much trees are used in the production of paper? Because trees come in different sizes, and their woods are different densities, there is no simple answers to such question. But it does take about four tons of wood to make about one ton of paper, and it isn’t just the wood consumption. Water is an essential element in the production of paper. It is used in large quantities throughout the pulping and paper making process, inevitably picking up effluents along the way.
The Facts of our Paper Consumption
- In the last 20 years, the usage of paper products has increased from 92 million tons to 208 million, which is a growth of 126%.
- The U.S. uses approximately 68 million trees each year to produce paper and paper products.
- The average office worker continues to use a staggering 10,000 sheets of copy paper every year.
- Worldwide the pulp and paper industry is the fifth largest consumer of energy, accounting for 4% of all the world’s energy use.
- Pulp and paper is the third largest industrial polluter to air, water and land in both Canada and the United States, and releases well over 100 million kg of toxic pollution each year.
- An estimated 18 million acres of forest are lost each year, equaling a loss of 20 football fields every minute.
A Tree Free Alternative
If your paper needs are non negotiable, consider going “tree-free”. Tree free paper is an alternative to the typically made wood-pulp paper by its raw material composition. Instead, paper is made with agricultural residues such as bamboo, sugarcane waste fibre, husks and straws. These are cellulose fibre much like traditional tree fiber that were once considered as waste from sugar refinement and was landfilled or burned, but it is now used to make quality printing paper.
By using tree free paper, reports show – that reducing or avoiding altogether the use of wood-derived fiber in making paper would, in fact, lead to more extensive forests and more trees.
So before shopping for school supplies this year, consider buying from tree free paper manufacturers for note pads and composition notebooks!
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