Impacts of Paper on the Environment

By Dennis Kempner posted 12-06-2016 11:56


It’s no surprise to hear that pollution from manufacturing and waste has a direct and negative impact on the environment. Everything from paper clips to fax machines are contributors to the problem. Many businesses are stuck between a rock and a hard place; they’re trying to minimize their effect on the environment, while providing maximum productivity for both their consumers and employees. One of the largest culprits adding to environmental damage and waste is also one of the easiest to replace: paper. Let’s take a look at how much of an impact paper production and waste has on the environment, and how simple it can be to be part of the solution.

Paper alone accounts for 40% of all waste in the United States. That adds up to about 71.6 million tons per year. What many hope to reduce, reuse, and recycle, unfortunately and overwhelming ends up being dumped into a landfill. Waste from paper is a big issue. It’s easy to forget that production of paper also has a devastating impact on the world we live in. Deforestation has increased at an alarming rate. Paper manufacturing used up to 40% of all global wood. The process of manufacturing paper releases nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon dioxide into the air, contributing to pollution such as acid rain and greenhouse gases. Furthermore, the US consumes more than 30% of all paper products globally, despite being only 5% of the world’s population.

So, what can you do?

Enough of the doom and gloom, what can we do to lessen our impact? Going digital with your documents is an easy solution that makes a massive difference. Not only does this minimize your impact on the environment, it surpasses many of the limitations of physical documents. Cloud based computing streamlines communication. Scanning documents lowers operation costs and saves time. Even the simplest of tools like email and electronic filing increase productivity and help the environment. These are strategies that can accomplish many goals, saving time and money. Making the switch from paper to digital is quick, easy, and effective!