How many times do you see the statement at the bottom of someone's email "Please consider the environment before printing this message?" I am baffled by this. I don't know anyone that doesn't want to work in a way that reduces their impact on the environment, but how does sending an email cautioning the recipient on printing out their email equate to reducing your environmental impact?
I'm tired of paper getting a bad rap (ok, so maybe I'm a little biased) but I think there's a lot of misinformation going around. For starters, paper is renewable, recyclable and biodegradable. Yes, paper is made from trees - but that's not necessarily bad. For decades paper manufacturers in North America have replaced trees they've harvested - according to the USDA Forest Service, 4 million trees are planted daily in the US.
In addition, paper is one of the most recycled products in this country, in 2008 57% of all paper consumed in the US was recovered for recycling. That's a good thing, because in addition to preserving trees, a sheet that is made with 30%PCW for example requires 10% less energy to manufacture and uses 25% less water and emits 6% less greenhouse gases than virgin paper.
Here are some facts to help put into perspective paper's impact on the environment vs. alternative methods of communication, compliments of the latest edition of Ed by NewPage, which you can request from our online sample studio.
E-Mail - 5 seconds
Shopping List - 2 hours
Periodicals - 6 months
Cell phone - 18 months
Computer - 5 years
Web Site - 5 years
PDFs - 16 years
Book in the NYC Library - 23 years
Love Letter - 64 years
Guttenberg Bible - 555 years (and counting)