We don’t think much about the paper that we use everyday for sending memos, faxes and other important communications with everyone from clients to constituents. After all, paper is just a natural part of everyday life, right? Earth Day — celebrated every April 22nd — offers the critical opportunity to revisit this misconception and take a closer look at just how much paper we squander every day, what impact the mass manufacturing, transporting, and consumption of paper has on the environment, and one small step every organization can take to help save the planet.
A Brief History of Paper
Paper dates all the way back to ancient China, and its use gradually spread throughout the world. While making paper was originally a labor intensive craft, modern technology — including the mechanized harvesting of wood — transformed paper into a cheap, disposable commodity. Unfortunately, these “advancements” in the pulp and paper industry have resulted in dire environmental consequences related to deforestation, air and water pollution, and massive waste.
Some Staggering Statistics
Wondering just how big a problem excess paper consumption truly is in the grand scheme of things? Let’s look at the numbers:
- Americans use approximately 31.5 million tons of paper every single year, according to the Green Schools Initiative. That’s a whopping 660 pounds per person!
- 80 percent of discarded paper ends up in landfills, according to the Environmental Paper Network. There, its decomposition produces massive amounts of methane, the second most common greenhouse gas.
- Paper may account for as much as 60 percent of waste in our schools, according to the National Wildlife Federation.
- Paper may account for nearly 54 percent of solid waste in our hospitals, according to the Healthcare Environmental Resource Center.
- A breathtaking 90 percent of all office waste is paper, according to the EPA.
- Annually, businesses use paper at a rate of 10,000 sheets per every office worker, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. (The EPA breaks this out to two pounds daily for the average employee.)
That’s just a small sampling of the ways we use — and misuse — paper every single day to the detriment of the planet. And the problem is far from isolated to schools, hospitals and businesses, but extends to every facet of life requiring mass communication.
The imperative is clear: a significant reduction in paper use is necessary in order to stop the ongoing environmental havoc. But what can you do about it in your own schools, offices, hospitals, churches, property management firms and other business?
The One Call Now Solution
One Call Now offers an innovative answer to the paper problem. This environmentally-friendly mass messaging system ensures that your critical communications get through quickly and easily without wasting a single sheet of paper. The environmentalist mantra urges us all to, “Think globally, act locally.” Today’s eco-forward organizations are adopting One Call Now as a simple, efficient and cost-effective way to start making an immediate difference.
Before you even finished reading the first paragraph of this blog entry, paper production destroyed a forest area as large as 20 football fields, according to the Green Schools Initiative. Earth Day offers the perfect opportunity to evaluate paper use within your own organization, and implement strategies to help turn the tide. Contact One Call Now to learn more about how its advanced mass messaging technology can achieve your green goals.