People often say to me they don’t use as much printing as they used to because of the environmental impact of using paper.
This is obviously a concern to me on two fronts…
Firstly, using paper is how we make a living!
Secondly, we don’t want to be addding an additional unnecessary impact to global warming. So I have done some research into some inportant facts about paper if you have these concerns..
People mistakenly think paper making is a huge energy consumer. But look more closely and you’ll discover some surprising statistics about paper and energy…
As industries go, paper making is a large scale undertaking and you’d expect it to generate some frightening statistics.
On average it takes 500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity to produce 200kg of paper, the average amount of paper that each of us consume each year.
Does 500 kilowatt-hours sound a lot?
It’s the equivalent to:
• Powering one computer continuously for five months
• Burning a 60w light bulb continuously for one year
• The energy consumed by a typical household leaving its electronic equipment on stand-by for a year.
In managed forests, for every tree cut down, three to four are replanted in its place. It’s estimated that there are 25% more trees in the developed world today than there were in 1901, and in Europe alone, forests are increasing annually by an area equivalent to more than 1.5 million football pitches.
Deforestation is generally occurring in the tropics but for a variety of reasons. The main cause of deforestation is either for agriculture or domestic fuel requirements, which between them, account for almost half of the trees cut down worldwide.
In northern Europe, where almost all ancient forests are protected, paper comes from managed semi-natural forests where the cycle of planting, growing and logging is carefully controlled. Even in countries where natural forests are used, like Russia and Canada, logging accounts for only a tiny share of the annual tree growth.
The Paper industry is a relatively small user of wood. Of the wood extracted from the world’s forests, 53% is used for energy production, 28% is used by sawmills, and around 11% is used directly by the paper industry
Here are some key facts about paper:-
• Paper production is NOT a major cause of deforestation
• Industrial wood, pulp and paper production saves forests
• Paper is a fully renewable, sustainable resource
• For every tree logged in managed forests, 3-4 are replanted
• Forest certification promotes wood from managed forests
• We plant more trees than we harvest for making paper
• The annual increase of forest cover in Europe is equivalent to more than 1.5 million football pitches.
That final point is the one that fascinates me – the scale of the increase in forestry is incredible… if you think about it, if the paper industry does not act in a massive way to ensure there are enough trees, then it is quite simply shooting itself in the foot!
Have a great week!
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