“One Less” – Conserving Paper
In continuing with my “One Less” theme, this month I address paper! While paper is not the first thing that comes to my mind (nor, probably, yours) when considering ways to save resources, paper packs a tremendous environmental wallop.
The paper industry is considered the third most polluting of all industries. It also has an enormous appetite for water, indeed consuming more water than any other single industry on Earth. Paper and cardboard fills up dumps too, comprising up to 35% of consumer waste. Think about it, so much of what we buy is packed in cardboard!
More and more of us are consciously recycling, repurposing and reusing our paper and cardboard, a great thing, but there’s always more we can all do…
- Get off junk mail lists – Visit DMA Choice, Catalog Choice, 41 Pounds to get off mailing lists. For the rest, contact the businesses directly. Use any remaining junk mail as gift packing tissue, box stuffing for when shipping delicate items or moving, or use the colorful paper as gift wrap, and recycle the rest.
- Buy an ereader or tablet computer – eReaders store thousands of books, and new models are coming out all the time, many offering displays with an authentic “printed page” look and feel. If you love the feel of paper books, continue to read your occasional favorites the old fashioned way and reserve the ereader for daily use. For instant news updates, skip the newspaper subscription and get a tablet.
- Use cloths instead of paper towels – Norwex was founded on and became a leader in eco cleaning products on the strength of its superior microfiber cloths that need only water to work their cleaning magic. Our Norwex kitchen cloth does the trick in the kitchen, saving you money and time.
- Pay bills online – Request that paper bills no longer be sent and set up an online account for bill paying, with reminders sent by email.
- Print only when necessary – Saving both paper and expensive ink. If possible, set your printer for two-sided printing. Reuse scrap printer paper, using the back side for notes or resending through the printer.
- Skip the paper plates – Use traditional dishes.
- Bring your own cloth shopping bags – Keep them in your car for those spontaneous food shopping trips.
- Buy in bulk – Cereals, granolas, nuts, flour easily lend themselves to reusable glass or metal containers.
- Recycle, reuse, repurpose – Save your colorful and attractive paper goods – you can always repurpose them as creative gift wrap. Save decorative gift boxes and shopping bags.