Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Paper Problem - A Must Read For Everyone

Mrs. G over in merry old England sent a link to this unbelievable article from the The Independent about Mandy Haggith who put together a pile of a years worth of paper (1/4 ton per person) for her local townspeople to see. It's really great because as a result, they have started recycling/ reducing and re-using like crazy. Just goes to show that with knowledge, things change.

The article is a must read though more for the description she gives of deforestation seen first hand as a result of our thirst for paper products. In researching a book she wrote entitled Paper Trails she traveled the planet and saw first hand the devastation brought about by paper companies. I'm putting it on my reading list for sure.

Below are some practical tips and facts to help save paper.


How to save the trees

* Do not pick up paper napkins in caf├ęs.

* Ask yourself: Do I need to print this? If so, use both sides of the paper.

* Sign up to the Mail Preference Service: www.mpsonline.org.uk

* Make sure any paper you buy (toilet rolls through to writing paper) comes from recycled sources.

* Re-use paper bags or compost receipts and torn-up bank statements

* Cut down on and share magazines, return unwanted catalogues to the sender.

* Re-use envelopes and make your own cards.

* Read small print carefully and never tick the "more information" box.

* Ask your boss to buy recycled paper for your workplace.

Pulp facts

* Deforestation caused by paper production is thought to be a bigger cause of global warming than transport.

* Each person in the UK gets through 250kg of paper a year. The worst offenders are the Finns at 333kg. The average Somalian uses 20g.

* Much of the UK's paper is barely used and a large proportion ends up in landfill. Just 42 percent is recycled – but as there are so few recycling mills in the country, most of this ends up being sent abroad.

* It is a myth that most paper comes from sustainable sources. Seventy percent of it comes from natural forests.

* The UK produces virtually none of its own pulp and imports 80 percent of its pulp.

* Around 75 percent of the paper for magazines is production wastage and is never read.

* Advertisers know that 99.7 percent of recipients of junk mail throw it away unread. They think it's worth it for the 0.3 percent who might.


Melissa said...

Dave, I second the worms composting sensitive docs - I've been able to avoid buying a shredder because they chew it all up! a couple other things I'd recommend is putting a cloth napkin in your bag/car/laptop bag so you really aren't tempted to grab one on the go (also can be used to dry hands instead of paper towel) and of course only for the US, but we have catalogchoice.org to opt out of unwanted catalogs. That pile of paper is amazing!

Dave said...

Hey Melissa,
Yeah, I've noticed they'll eat it but for my size bin, shredding works better for me. It's funny because I've been meaning to carry a towel and just haven't. Don't know why. Generally the paper towels are from when my kids wash (I air dry most of the time) so I suspect I am so caught up in remembering their stuff I forget. Something to work on.