Eco-Friendly Printing and Office Tips

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Paper is a big problem from an environmentalism perspective.  Every day, we come in contact with a lot of paper, and we mostly throw it out!  Americans consume more paper per capita than any other country in the world – more than seven hundred pounds per person!

Others have serious paper consumption problems as well (Western Europe used about four hundred pounds per person, Australia about three hundred pounds, and Latin America about one hundred pounds per person.  The US is definitely in the lead, and our use of paper has a big effect on our environment.

You see, our forests are the storehouses for half the world’s terrestrial carbon.  They hold onto carbon that could be ending up in our atmosphere.  About half of those forests have already been burned or cleared, and more than three quarters of what remains are seriously affected by deforestation, poor management, and other problems.

More than forty percent of our industrial wood harvest goes to make paper, and the industry for manufacturing it is the fourth largest contributor when it comes to manufacturing industries in the US.  It contributes about ten percent of the emissions for the entire manufacturing sector.  After that paper is used, it goes to the landfill, making up a third of the waste in municipal landfills and about a quarter of the waste in other landfills.

These landfills then emit methane – a third of the total human related emissions.  Methane is even worse when it comes to greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide.  Using more paper releases more methane, and that means that using less paper prevents many tons of greenhouse emissions.  For instance, if everyone in a US office used a tenth less paper, it would add up to one and a half million tons of greenhouse gas saved, or the equivalent of pulling nearly three hundred thousand cars off the road.

Recycling paper is the next best thing, with recycled paper coming in at nearly half as much energy consumption, more than a third less emission of greenhouse gas, and half as much solid waste production as virgin paper.  However, less than half of our office paper is recovered for recycling.  The good news is that that’s more than it used to be, and that we can make some simple changes in our office behavior that’ll help use less paper.

Think about using the Environmental Defense Fund’s Paper Calculator to help your office.  This tool helps businesses reduce paper use and will give you the information to change the way you buy.  Take up two sided printing on a regular basis and use half as much paper on a regular basis.  Worried about printing it backwards or upside down on the second side?  Just tape a note to the printer telling you how to re-insert the page.  Use digital documents whenever possible, of course.

Look for recycled paper products when possible, and make sure you remember to recycle that newsletter when you’re done with it.  While you’re at it, why not send an email to the department that produced it and ask them to move to digital instead?  It’s entirely possible to reduce your office’s use of paper and save a few more trees and a lot more air.

Related posts:

  1. Energy Efficiency Tips for Going Green in Your Home Office
  2. Purchase Recycled Paper to Help a Bird
  3. Don’t hit Print too quickly
  4. 9 Quick Tips on Going Green
  5. Guaranteed Ways To Go Green At Work
  6. Best Online Carbon Footprint Calculator

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