March 19, 2017

A useful but wasteful product

With the improvement in technology and the advent of the printing press and the mechanical harvesting of wood, disposable paper became more affordable for the average consumer. This resulted in a drastic increase in consumption and of course, waste – which all contributed to Paper Pollution. It is estimated that 40% of the waste in the U.S. is paper.

More: Paper Waste Facts

The environmental impact of paper production is important to note since it has many negative effects. Here are some of them:

  • 40% of the world’s commercially cut timber is used for the production of paper.
  • Pulpwood plantations and mills endanger natural habitats.
  • Over 30 million acres of forest are destroyed annually.
  • The pulp and paper industry is a big contributor to the problem of deforestation and is partly to blame for the endangerment of some species that live in the forests.
  • The life cycle of paper is damaging to the environment from beginning to end. It starts off with a tree being cut down and ends its life by being burned – emitting carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • Paper production uses up lots of water. An A4 paper r
  • Pulp and paper mills discharge water that’s riddled with solids, dissolved organic matter called lignin, alcohol, inorganic material such as cholates, chlorineand metal compounds. All of this contributes to soil and water pollution.
  • The paper industry is the 5th largest consumer of energy in the world. It uses up 4% of the world’s energy. To produce 1 ton of virgin paper, it is estimated that 253 gallons of petrol is used.

More: Paper Waste Facts

Minimizing Paper Pollution

Paper is recyclable, but not everyone recycles. We need to make an effort to be consistent about recycling. We’ve come to the point where people need to contribute to a greener environment by changing the way they manage their personal wastes. Remember to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – and encourage everyone you know to do it.

Buy recycled paper and encourage the paper industry to use environment friendly ways of manufacturing paper. As a consumer, you can influence how industries produce the products that you buy.


  1. Wikipedia: Environmental Impact of Paper
  2. Paper: The Environmental Catastrophe

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