We use it in one form or another every day. But when you stop and look at how much we actually use and what we’re destroying for that “cup of coffee” or “holiday card”, it makes one stop and think.
Have a look at these facts:
- Paper and paper products accounts for more than 1/3 of all Canada’s waste.
- It takes 75,000 trees to print a Sunday Edition of the New York Times.
- 30-40% of trash is discarded packaging.
- If everyone in the Canada and the US sent one less holiday card, we would save over 60,000 cubic yards of paper.
Now have a look at this: Every tree provides oxygen enough for 3 people to breathe.
New paper requires both newly cut trees and tons of gallons of water and chemicals for processing, so reducing how much we use is key to helping our planet.
We all have to STOP and RETHINK our paper consumption.
Here are some tips to help control the PAPER in your household –
1. MAGAZINES: Let the subscription to magazines that you don’t thoroughly enjoy (and read each month!) run out. For catalogs, call the customer service line and ask to be removed (referencing your customer number works well). Delivery should stop within 6–8 weeks. When they ask, make sure to let them know your green reasons for cancelling.
2. SIGNS: Add a small sign on your mailbox to let your postal carrier know you do not want “JUNK MAIL”.
3. ONLINE BOOKS: I know I LOVE books too, but instead of buying new books, go to the library, borrow, get them at garage sales, second hand book stores or download them to your Kindle or iPad. I’ve started doing this and LOVE it! It’s cheaper too!
4. PAPER TOWELS: Do you really need paper towels? I stopped years ago when I became a Norwex consultant as I now use Enviro Cloths. Super absorbent and the silver in the cloths destroys the bacteria. Cost effective and way more absorbent.
5. PHOTO ALBUMS: In this digital world, I’m sure most can’t keep up with all of the digital pics we all take. If you do have photo albums, try to create only 1 or 2 per year of your very favourite pictures.
6. BANKING: Pay bills and track accounts online. Then you can begin to cancel the paper bills you receive each month since many utilities, credit cards, and banks offer e-bills as a replacement. And many banks are now offering phone apps that allow account management on the go.
7. COFFEE FILTERS/TEA BAGS: You know you should be using a reuseable coffee filter for your coffee pot. If you have a French press, you don’t need a filter at all, plus the coffee rocks! Tea bags aren’t really needed anymore plus a “real” cup of tea is superior to a tea bag any day.:)
8. DIAPERS AND WIPES: Did you know it takes 500 years for a disposable diaper to decompose? There are a lot of great companies out there that offer fantastic cloth diapers and wipes. Disposable wipes tend to have chemicals in them, so stay clean away from those your your little one. There are a multitude of reputable companies offering very nice cloth diapers, making them super functional and convenient to use.
9. NAPKINS: I just LOVE Cloth napkins! I’ve started collecting them from garage sales and second hand stores. Not only will you be setting a great example for family and save money by not buying PAPER napkins, but it just looks better as well at a table.
10. TISSUE PAPER: It’s a tough habit to break, but the good old handkerchief is a better way to go.
11. FEMININE HYGIENE: As it becomes more mainstream to cut back on the use of disposables, more and more women are researching options for reusable pads and tampons. This is one area that has seen a huge growth in popularity. Products such a menstrual cups, sea sponges, and cloth pads create an option for everyone. Check out Luna Pads to get the facts on switching to washable menstrual products.
12. PAPER PLATES, FORKS and SPOONS: I’ve never been a fan of throwaway dishes… it’s expensive and of course not eco at all! When you’re camping, have school functions, picnicing etc. bring along reuseable plates etc. Think of the money you’ll save!
12. PRINTING: Do you really have to PRINT every item? Make folders on your computer and save the files there.
13. PACKAGING: I try not to purchase items that have a LOT of packaging. It’s wasteful and not needed. I’m a big fan of www.craigslist.ca .
14. HOLIDAY WASTE: I know this one if a toughie… but do you know how much waste is produced from holiday cards and wrapping? It’s one million tons. That’s right—according to the EPA, North Americans generate an additional million tons of household waste over the average between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. That’s a massive 25 percent spike in waste—from the standard 4 million tons to 5 million—that occurs like clockwork every year.
Instead send an e-card or a lovely email and wrap presents with cloth bags that can be used again and again and again… Cost effective and our planet will thank you!