Paper is all around us and we use it for a countless number of things. With so many people using so much paper all the time, we have to exhaust huge amount of energy and our natural resources to meet this need by cutting down trees and using equipment that pollutes air and water, destroys the homes of numerous animals and contributes to negative changes in our climate.
Americans use lot of paper everyday. They are the heaviest users of paper in the world. The average American uses about seven trees or an average of 700 pounds in paper, wood, and other products made from trees every year. By reducing the mount of paper you use everyday, you can reduce your carbon footprint on forests, cut energy usage, limit water, air and other pollution and produce less waste. Use these 30+ tips to help save the trees we so desperately need to preserve our environment.
1. Get a dry erase board. A dry erase board will save paper because it keeps you from randomly making notes on any sheet of paper that you see. It’s also reusable for a long period of time and aids in organization and efficiency.
2. Make use of the virtual world. From telecommuting to creating and signing documents and virtual faxing, there’s many ways to do things online. The more you learn about different ways to communicate and collaborate via the Internet, the less paper you will use and the more time you’ll save.
3. Cut back on using paper dishes. Wash your dishes instead of buying paper dishware. With the production of excess paper leading to the annual destruction of millions of acres of trees, paper dishes may be easier for cleanup but they’re extremely harmful to the environment. If you must use paper dishes, make sure to recycle.
4. Use less paper towels. Paper towels aren’t as long-lasting as dish rags that can be washed and reused many times. Also, dish towels are more attractive and can be bought in assorted collections for different uses.
5. Sign up for paperless billing. Countless service providers now offer the option to deliver your bills via email instead of by snail mail using envelopes and printed paper. If your bills come to you through email, it’s also easier to keep up with them and track what you need to pay.
6. Use your phone more often. Our phones are so diverse and filled with apps that the possibilities are endless for taking notes and writing down just about anything you would need to remind yourself of on paper.
7. Find out how you can stop receiving junk mail. Tons of junk mail is delivered daily to homes and businesses and it simply gets thrown away because it isn’t useful to the recipients. Find out ways you can opt out of receiving junk mail to keep it from being delivered to your home. .
8. Be more resourceful with notebooks and paper that you already have used. Its common practice that when we write in notebooks and on other types of paper that we only use one side of the page. Before you buy a new notebook, just take the old one and use the blank sides of the pages.
9. Take a second to think about your habits. It may seem simple, but we’re so used to wasting paper that we don’t think about it as much as we should. Before you use paper products, ask yourself if it’s really necessary. The more you do this, you’ll find that your new ways of thinking will lead to behavioral changes that will allow you to use less paper and save more money.
11. Have a plan. If you write out a plan and set it in motion when it comes to using less of the paper products that contribute to environmental degradation, then it will be much easier to stick to your goals and help others to do the same.
12. Have a PDF file storage system. Instead of printing out papers for filing, create PDF document and upload them to a cloud storage system, along with saving them in specific folders on your computer. This way, they are less likely to be lost and you don’t have to use as much paper.
13. Change the way you buy groceries. Use reusable shopping bags. If you have to use plastic bags, check with the store to see if they take bags back. Many stores do this now as a way to help customers shop sustainably and consciously.
14. Opt for paperless subscriptions to magazines and news sources. It’s tradition in our culture to order our favorite magazines, feeling the excitement of the new issue arriving at our door. Save paper by signing up for a digital subscription instead of buying a magazine that you will most likely throw away after reading, or hold on to and never read again. You are also more likely to stay updated on the latest news and promotions from your favorite publications with online subscriptions.
15. Use an e-reader for books. We can’t deny the appeal and value of books that are printed. You can hold it in your hand and keep it as part of a prized collection, but you can do the same thing with a Kindle reader. E-readers will also take up less room in your house and your books will always be saved and easily accessible from your device.
16. Store important files on an external flash drive instead of printing. What’s more convenient than a USB? It’s small, able to be shared, and can hold a large amount of information and files. Use this device instead of printing paper documents and putting them in folder.
17. Think of ways you can upcycle paper instead of throwing it away. Many hobbyists and creatives use unwanted paper for scrapbooking and other artistic endeavors.
18. Use handkerchiefs instead of tissues. Handkerchiefs are absorbent and sanitary alternatives to toilet paper and Kleenex. They are better for the environment as they keep us from wasting so much tissue that has to be thrown away.
19. Repurpose junk mail that you already have. If you already have junk mail, think of what you can use it for instead of throwing it away. For example, paper can be used as shipping material to protect fragile items.
20. Use recycled toilet paper. Toilet paper made from recycled material is of great quality and just as durable as new toilet paper while helping to save the lives of trees that are often lost in the creation process of paper.
21. Print wisely. When you have to print a document, adjust your margins and use a smaller font size. These changes will reduce the amount paper that is used during printing. Also, printing in draft mode can have a paper-saving effect.
22. Share files and documents with others so that they don’t have to print them. If you have an important document or news that needs to be shared, consider uploading it into a file that can be emailed to everyone. If you’re in an office or enclosed setting, simply pass the information around to those who need it or allow them to upload it themselves.
23. Use online tools for business collaboration. Google Docs and other digital work spaces allow everyone to meet and edit files in a shared space without needing to constantly print material.
24. Always recycle. Paper products that you use should always be recycled. Likewise, when you recycle, you’re allowing sustainable manufacturers to create more usable material without destroying the environment.
25. Use cloth napkins instead of paper ones. Paper napkins and towels have to be thrown away after usage, but cloth is easy to wash and reusable.
26. Have store receipts emailed whenever possible. Many stores now offer the option to have your receipts emailed to you instead of printed on paper. Take this option and you’ll quickly become comfortable with digital receipts that can be saved and easily organized while being less likely to get lost.
27. Use old newspaper for eco-friendly gardening. Newspaper can help to keep weeds from growing in your garden and eliminates the need for chemicals and other environmentally destructive products created to keep weeds away.
28. Use paper as compost material. Use paper to give back to the Earth. Various types of paper can be used when composting to enrich the soil and encourage plants to grow.
29. Use send and return envelopes. Mail is constantly coming and going, but you don’t have to throw away every envelope that comes to you via mail when the sender uses a send and return envelope. For mail that you send, make use of this option to save the recipient the trouble of purchasing a new envelope and to eliminate the need to trash the original.
30. Buy treeless paper. Did you know there are alternative ways to make paper without using trees? Buy treeless paper products to show that you support the company’s mission and value what they are doing to sustain our environment.
31. Wrap gifts without paper. During the holidays, everyone buys wrapping paper to conceal gifts. Gift wrapping is usually discarded, but we can cut back on this waste of paper by using fabric and reusable gift bags.
32. Talk about it. Explain to friends, families, and coworkers how much of the forest is being destroyed at such a rapid rate to produce paper. This may encourage them to use less paper, recycle, and make more eco-friendly purchases.