From a young age we were all taught to not be wasteful; to not waste paper, water, and food. We heard this from our parents, our teachers, and even our friends. Little did we know that we grew up learning one of the most valuable lessons before it was cool to “be green”.
Trees are the most important natural resource we have, supplying us with oxygen while eliminating carbon dioxide levels from the atmosphere. There are one billion people worldwide that attend work in an office environment every day.
This average is causing one billion trees to be cut down each year to satisfy the world’s paper demand. Global Warming Initiatives is only expecting this number to grow in future years causing more harm to the environment.
Besides the aesthetically pleasing benefit of trees, they impact the Earth in some major ways:
- Trees remove 100 to 120 billion tons of carbon each year from man-made sources like (cars, trains, planes, etc)
- Trees moderate climate, improve air quality, conserve water and also harbour wildlife
- Trees cut down energy costs- air conditioning and heating costs are lower in shaded areas. The less energy used by consumers the less CO2 emissions in the atmosphere
One tree cut down can produce 173 reams of paper. A total of 7 million reams of paper is equal to 12 pounds of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere.
What many people forget is that not only is cutting a tree down harmful to the environment but the process by which it goes through to become paper is harmful as well. All 12 steps of the process- from logs to chips to pulp to paper- all emits heavy levels of CO2 into the air by using large amounts of electricity and chemicals. (6.5 pounds of CO2 emitted per ream during the industrial process). It’s evident that the pulp and paper industry is very harmful to the environment:
-represents 10 percent of all global CO2 emissions
- uses more than 23.5 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year
- 74 million metric tons of CO2 to produce paper each year
-uses more water than any other industry
The pulp and paper industry needs to be cut down, not the trees! Many programs online, like Adobe Reader, are doing their part to reduce the statistic that 28 percent of paper consumption is used by printing articles alone. Their use of Green PDF documents is a direct solution to the heavy paper consumption worldwide. Green PDFs are electronically circulated articles that are not allowed to be printed.
Each ream of paper not printed due to Green PDFs equals 18.5 pounds less of CO2 in the atmosphere. In America right now, 173 reams of paper are used every five seconds. THAT’S ONE TREE USED EVERY FIVE SECONDS!
“If all 700 million Adobe Readers users decided not to print an article ten pages long each year, there would be 3 environmental effects:
1) Less waste due to 14 million reams of copy not used
2) 80,000 trees wouldn’t be cut down annually
3) 118,000 less tons of CO2 in atmosphere.”
If the world could reduce printing by just 10 percent it would save over 100 million trees, and 100 million metric tons of CO2 in the atmosphere.
This is what you can do to help:
1) Use both sides of paper: don’t buy new notebooks for classes or work until the first ones are used up!
2) Read articles by way of Green PDFs: don’t print articles you don’t need, save them and refer back when you need to.
3) Encourage: your company, friends, and family to make important documents into Green PDFs
4) Save paper at every chance: reuse newspaper, magazines, wrapping paper, etc.