…one paper plate at a time.
just the facts
- Pulp and paper is the third largest industrial polluter of air, water and soil.
- In the U.S., total industrial releases of toxic waste into the air were 690 million pounds (313,000 tonnes) in 2015 and pulp and paper accounted for 20%.
- Paper accounts for 25% of landfill waste and 33% of municipal waste.
- Chlorine-based bleaches are used during production which results in toxic materials being released into our water, air and soil.
- When paper rots, it emits methane gas which is 25 times more toxic than carbon dioxide.
- Unlike office paper and newsprint, paper plates are contaminated with food residue when used and cannot be recycled. Unless you have a home composting system, your paper plates go straight to landfills, where biodegrading processes are slow.
And then, of course, the trees…
- 93% of paper comes from trees.
- To print a Sunday edition of the New York Times requires 75,000 trees!
- 14% of all global wood harvest is used to make paper.
- Deforestation is one of the main environmental problems we are facing today.
- Every tree produces enough oxygen for three people to breathe.
what you can do
- Use ceramic plates! Here are some hand-crafted stackables you can leave out on your counter for easy use (and they look stylish, too!). Use, wash, stack, repeat!!!
- Recycle all your paper waste.
- Be a conscious consumer and buy “100% post-consumer waste recycled”. Buy recycled paper materials or materials that came from sustainable managed forests.
- In the office, reuse paper. If you have only used one side for example, collect them instead of throwing them away and use for scrap paper.
- If you already have a scanned copy of a file, do not print it out.
- Use email instead of paper when communicating with clients and customers.
- Insist on “Process Chlorine Free” paper materials.
- Buy products with the least paper packaging. Encourage businesses that follow environment friendly practices.
- Take advantage of the latest technologies like tablets, computers and smart phones to keep your files and notes.
As a consumer, the way you use and dispose of paper and other paper products greatly affect our paper waste. These small efforts on your part will be a valuable contribution in the resolution of our pollution problems today.
References: EPA.gov; Wikipedia: Environmental Impact of Paper; Natural resources Defense Council