Exciting! Now We Can Stop Deforestation By Using Eco-Friendly Paper! Read It To Believe It!
Most people tend not to think much about where the paper in their notebooks or office printer trays comes from. But paper, in all its various forms, affects the environment in a pretty big way. That's because traditional paper is made from wood pulp. That pulp comes from freshly cut trees, around 16 percent is farmed, according to the Ecology Global Network. Cutting wild trees for paper production poses obvious problems, including loss of habitat for wildlife.
One must also consider the amount of land and energy it takes to harvest farmed trees for paper production. Farms of any kind take up valuable land that could be dedicated to much-needed wildlife habitats. The energy needed to cut and process trees into paper releases CO2 into the atmosphere, contributing to the buildup of greenhouse gasses, which exacerbate climate change. Yet the world consumes around 300 million tons of paper each year. Luckily, though its use is not yet widespread, an alternative to traditional paper exists, and its carbon footprint is much smaller than that of traditional paper.
What qualifies as "eco-friendly" when it comes to paper?
Eco-friendly paper is exactly what its name implies: A greener version of traditional paper, with a smaller carbon footprint and overall environmental impact. There are two main kinds of eco-friendly paper. The first is recycled paper. The second is FSC Certified paper. Integrating either into your home or office is a great move for the environment. Depending on your location, you may be able to find eco-friendly paper at an office supply store close by. If not, both varieties can easily be found online.
What are the benefits of recycled paper?
Recycled paper is made from post-consumer waste rather than wood pulp from freshly cut trees. Paper products, from packaging to old notebooks, can be recycled into this type of paper. It's easy to see how the widespread recycling of paper products could help to reduce deforestation, by creating more recycled paper that doesn't require fresh trees. Reducing deforestation reduces habitat loss for wildlife, and keeps more oxygen in the atmosphere.
Because trees help to filter particulates from the air, more trees also mean less pollution on a global scale. But according to The Guardian, recycling paper can do even more than save trees. In fact, recycling roughly one ton of paper reduces greenhouse gas emissions by one ton of carbon equivalent, and saves around 7,000 gallons of water. By using recycled paper, you are taking advantage of all the good that comes from recycled paper products.
What are the benefits of FSC certified paper?
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which describes itself as a "group of businesses, environmentalists and community leaders," is a well-respected not-for-profit that aims to protect the world's forests by overseeing and improving timber production. The FSC has worked with key players in the timber industry to inspect and track timber and pulp through production chains, and ensure that more forests are managed in a sustainable way. Any paper or wood products certified by the FSC were created with sustainable practices.
The FSC also considers the ethical treatment of people in the production of timber. Companies that displace indigenous people in the production of their timber, for example, will not be certified. So far, the FSC has certified around 174 million hectares (429 million acres) of forests worldwide.