Mar 25

17 facts: Why you should NOT use paper

17 facts: Why you should NOT use paper

Nowadays paper might seem less relevant than it used to, but it is still very much a part of our lives. It is convenient, but that convenience comes with a large ecological cost. Let's look at some paper facts:


  • The average family uses 6 trees worth of paper each year. (2)
  • Making a ton of paper from wood requires 98 000 kilograms of other resources. (5)
  • 30% – 40% percent of municipal waste is paper, and 50% of office waste going to landfills is paper. (1)
  • Did you know that recycling a ton of paper saves 20 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, three cubic yards of landfill space, 60 pounds of air pollutants, and saves enough energy to power the average home for six months? (1)
  • Every year, the junk mail industry destroys approximately 100 million trees. The production and disposal of junk mail use up more energy than what is used by 3 million cars! All this just so you can get some mail that you’re probably not going to look at anyway. (1)
  • North Americans and Europeans use more than 200 kg of paper each per year. (4)
  • A forest the size of Wales is needed to supply the paper used in the UK every year! (2)
  • Deforestation causes more climate change emissions than global transport. (4)
  • In industrial countries, the paper industry is the biggest user of water. (6)
  • 45% of all print-outs and photocopies are binned before the end of the day. (7)
  • Global production in the pulp, paper and publishing sector is predicted to increase to 500 million metric tons by 2020. (8)
  • Only about half of the paper produced each year is recycled (200 million metric tons in 2012). (9)
  • Paper production is the third most energy-intensive of all manufacturing industries, using over 12% of all energy in the industrial sector. (10)
  • The paper and pulp industry is the fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the manufacturing sector. (10)
  • Paper is one of the biggest components of solid waste in landfills – 26 million metric tons (or 16% of landfill solid waste) in 2009. (11)
  • When paper decomposes in a landfill, it releases methane, a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide. (11)
  • Every year, American households receives a total of 104.7 billion pieces of junk mail, or 848 pieces of junk mail per household, which requires 6.5 million metric tons of paper. (11)

Think twice before you print something! Don't forget that the planet where we live is not made only for humans. Stop the timber companies cutting down thousands of trees, just because your company is used to work with paper forms. Sign up on to start using digital forms and change your business behavior to a sustainable one!


1. Going Green Today
2. Kids Go Green
3. World Resources Institute Earthtrends data
4. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Assessment Report 2007
5. Lovins, Hunter L., Lovins, Amory & Hawken, Paul ‘Natural Capitalism.’ Little Brown & Co., 2008. Quoting Liedtke C., Material Intensity of Paper and Board Production in Western Europe. Fresenius Environmental Bulletin, August 1993.
6. Taevs, Debra. Recycling’s Pushed ‘Reduce, Reuse’ Out of Equation. Portland Metro Sustainable Industries Journal, June 2005. OECD Environmental Outlook
7. Guardian
8. WWF Living Forests Report
9. State of the World’s Forests, 2012.
10. Environmental Paper Network (2007)
11. Environmental Paper Network (2011)

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