Day 5 : Go paperless

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Why go paperless ?

The environmental impact of paper production, processing, and distribution is huge. Using paper means cutting down trees that release oxygen for our environment; consuming energy for production; consuming fuel for transport and distribution; releasing harmful gases linked to paper and pulp industries; and encouraging the manufacture of printers, ink and toner cartridges.

  • Consumes energy: Worldwide, the pulp and paper industry is the fifth largest consumer of energy.

  • Consumes water: The pulp and paper industry uses more water to produce a ton of product than any other industry.

  • Causes pollution: Paper production emits air pollution, specifically 70 percent more pollution than the production of plastic bags. According to some studies, manufacturing paper emits 80 percent more greenhouse gases than plastic. Plus, making paper uses trees that could instead be absorbing carbon dioxide. The paper making process also results in 50 times more water pollutants than making plastic bags.

  • Inefficient recycling: The process of recycling paper can be inefficient, sometimes consuming more fuel than it would take to make more paper.

  • Produces waste: Discarded paper and paperboard make up roughly 26% of solid municipal solid waste in landfill sites. The EPA estimates that more than 400 million ink and 100 million toner cartridges end up in landfills each year.

  • Biodegrading difficulties: According to the EPA, paper doesn't degrade all that much faster than plastics in landfills.

If that’s not enough to convince you, how about this: you’ll have less clutter, you’ll feel more organised, you’ll be able to find documents more efficiently, and you’ll save money.

Some helpful tips to reduce your paper consumption :

  • Ask to receive digital letters and notices instead of printed ones when possible

  • Send electronic event invitations (your friends probably throw your paper ones away anyway !)

  • Ask stores to email you a receipt, if you need it, instead of printing one out for you

  • Use your phone, tablet or computer for note-taking

  • Get rid of your home printer. This will encourage you to seek a printer when you absolutely need it.

  • Reuse scrap papers for note taking

  • Always use double-sided printing where possible

  • Cancel your subscriptions to magazines or newspapers and buy them on occasion or when needed

  • Start reading magazines and newspapers online

  • If you are not ready to give up your newspaper or magazine, then consider sharing a subscription with a neighbour, friend, or coworker

  • Buy secondhand books and donate them when you’re done with them

  • Visit your local library

  • Place a “Please no junk mail” sign in your mailbox to limit the amount of paper waste

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