As far as we have come in the drive towards the paperless office, we still rely heavily on paper. The importance of paper recycling has been highlighted often and to your credit, most businesses have a responsible recycling program in place.
However, we can still do so much more – both as a company and as individuals – to reduce our reliance on paper and ensure that we are recycling what we can.
The value of paper recycling
It’s been estimated that it takes 24 trees to make a ton of standard office paper.
Most paper production relies on wood pulp from a mix of hard and softwoods to create pulp for processing. While there are several methods employed to perform this function, the mechanical pulping process is by far the most efficient compared to the chemical processes employed. By way of comparison, the mechanical method will use approximately 12 trees to produce a ton of paper, whereas the chemical process will churn through approximately 24 trees.
Available data from Global Forest Resource Assessment tells us that between 80,000 and 160,000 trees are cut down every day with a large percentage of these going to use in the paper industry.
That’s simply not sustainable, and as we are acutely aware, not helping the war on climate change.
The good news is that we can do our bit, even in a small way.
- Paper can be recycled numerous times – it just needs to get to the recycling depot and not end up in a landfill.
- We can shop responsibly and source paper from a company using sustainable products and processes.
- At home, we can use old newspapers in our braai, our pet’s bed, or in our compost bins.
- Donate old magazines to health centers for their reading tables or old books to the library.
- Encourage your children to use the front and back of a sheet of paper when doodling.
- Keep old magazines and newspapers for kiddies’ crafts.
- In the office, we can print on both sides of a sheet of paper.
- Make use of a shredder which can securely allow your scrap to be shipped off to the recycling center.
When we consider that a single ton of recycled paper will save 17 trees, perhaps we can think of other ways that we can support this cause.