Save Paper – Essay
From the time mass produced paper was developed in the 2nd century CE in China, until the 19th century industrialisation greatly reduced the cost of manufacturing paper, down to this point in time, paper has proved to be indispensable as one of the most widely used materials for many processes including writing, printing, packaging, cleaning and decorating. It is one of the most demanded materials all over the world at it is almost impossible to find a human activity that does not require at least one of the many forms of paper at one point in the process. Millions of books, altogether weighing into the tons are produced each and every day. Millions of cardboard boxes are employed to package different items for several intended destinations. Factor in the many other activities these different forms of paper are used for and you easily begin to understand how millions of metric tonnes of paper are thrown away every single year in the United States alone. At this point, it is clear that something has to be done to save paper. It is simply not sustainable at this point to maintain this amount of waste and we will consider some of the changes that need to be made. But first,
Why is change needed?
Having considered the sheer amount of paper that goes to waste each year so to speak, to fully understand the reasons that have prompted this article, we will like to discuss the effect this is having on the environment. First of all, when millions of tonnes of paper no longer have a use and have to be disposed of, these vast amounts of paper that have nowhere else to go end up polluting our environment when disposed both on land and even in large bodies of water. This is usually the case when no proper forms of recycling are in place. Another major reason is the amount of wood that goes into making paper. Approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper is disposed of as waste in the United States annually. Put that besides the number of trees planted each year, and the problem becomes evident. Simply put, if we don’t take action, these trees will run out.
Why has change been difficult to achieve?
Writing, printing, packaging, cleaning. These are all activities that are gaining increasing relevance and importance and guess what they all have in common. You guessed right; paper! This material is as necessary as it is abundant, if not more. The consumers continue to demand more and more quantities and the manufacturers and suppliers are all too eager to produce these increasing amounts, neglecting the effect this is having on the environment. With these levels of demand, it will be hard to effect any sort of change.
What can be done to save paper?
The choice to save paper begins with our everyday choices and there are a couple of easy steps to take that can help save paper and reduce wastage at home and in the office. First, think before you print; consider whether or not you really need a hard copy of a document before printing it. It might also be as simple as using both sides of a sheet of paper. Consider purchasing eBooks instead of spending money on hard copies that in some cases, will be packaged in an extra layer of paper. Technology is available that allows us to limit our use of paper such as e-mail, scanners, intranet. Collect whatever waste paper you may have and recycle it, and make sure to choose recycled paper products so these recycled items do not become waste in themselves. And most importantly, people need to be enlightened about the effects of their excessive use of paper and on efficient and eco-friendly ways they can cut down on the waste and save paper.
Even as we make use of a million tonnes of paper each day, paper usage is on the rise. A large part of this massive amount of paper will be disposed of and this creates a problem. Paper is too valuable to waste. It is imperative that our everyday decisions are geared towards saving paper.