One of the biggest problems for waste in developed countries comes from paper. Paper as we know it (the stuff that runs through your printer, wipes up spills, and even wraps food from the butcher counter) is created from wood pulp. To acquire that wood pulp, people need to cut down trees. The massive demand consumers put on paper products leads to more trees cut down every year than are planted. This overconsumption leads to deforestation; we cut entire forests down to create enough paper for our needs. What’s the alternate choice? You can do quite a few things to cut down on your paper usage, and we’ve put together our favorites!
Even in the digital age, people still enjoy physically writing things down. Some documents need to be recorded on paper to be legitimate, like a birth certificate, and some are more meaningful when written out, like Valentine’s cards. Paper is an incredible medium for conveying thoughts, and people have used this medium for centuries. We recently started using so much paper that forests are in the process of being destroyed, and a lot of this is due to our penchant for single-use paper items. Things like paper towels, toilet paper, and food wrappers are usually only used once and thrown out. This cycle of use-and-toss is what brings paper usage so far up the waste scale.
Lowering your paper usage doesn’t mean drastically changing your lifestyle. Most of the time, a minor adjustment is all that’s needed! You can continue using your home printer for fun craft projects, and you don’t need to stress about running off a report for work. These simple swaps are affordable ways to cut down on your paper usage without making significant adjustments.
Swapping your normal Charmin for an eco-friendly post-consumer waste alternate toilet paper could help save hundreds of trees. Post-consumer waste is paper that has been recycled, cleaned thoroughly, and pressed back into a different shape. The recycling and washing processes often create a soft fiber that feels great on your skin. You can also find paper towels, food wraps, and more made of post-consumer waste.
The incredible thing about beeswax food wraps is their easiness to clean. Instead of reaching for plastic wrap or paper towels to wrap up leftovers, grab a sheet of beeswax-rubbed paper. Each sheet has a side thinly coated in safe-to-eat wax. It helps the paper stick to itself without sticking to the food. Once you use the wrap, rinse it off like you would a dish!
One of the best ways to cut down on paper usage is by simply clicking the ‘print on both sides’ button in your printer settings. Unless you absolutely need a single-sided document, this provides an easy way to cut paper usage in half! For single-sided paperwork, try to reuse the unused side for drafts (using draft mode in your computer settings) or scrap paper.
All three of our simple swaps are great ways around excessive paper usage, but some things are unavoidable. These few inevitable things don’t mean you can’t be eco-friendly! If you’re someone who prints a lot of paperwork for your job or needs to use lots of paper for the home, try to offset the high usage with other ‘green’ initiatives. A great example would be recycling your used printer cartridges. The team at Vegas Ink & Toner is more than happy to help you find ways to ‘go green’ with your paper usage! For more common printing and other related tips, please contact Vegas Ink and Toner.