Infographics Partner

Shocking Truth About Paper Waste in the US


Paper Karma

When there are electronic replacements for almost everything, we still stick to one basic invention for communication, paper. More than just to communicate, the paper is also used extensively in packaging too. Though there are other raw materials which can be used to manufacture paper, trees are the primary source of production. This impacts the tree count and also is a prominent cause for deforestation which in turn is a potential reason for global warming, the burning issue.

The United States publishes about 24 billion newspapers, 2 billion books and 350 million magazines in a year. We have alternatives for all the above like digital news apps, e-books, kindle, e-magazines, but still, print media is still on the run! This is the major consumer of papers. Almost all houses get newspaper regularly and magazines can be addictive.

The average American uses about the equivalent of a hundred-foot-tall douglas fir tree in paper and wood products each year. Wood is majorly involved in making furniture and interior home decors too. Particularly in cold countries, wood takes the majority of the construction too.

The next place where a paper is highly put to use is the workplace. An average employee in the US uses 10,000 sheets of paper every year and that accounts to about 4 million tons of paper annually! Not many workplaces actually care about the paper wastage. Not many people are concerned about the issue and they do not realize they have a fair share in being conscious about the resources they use every day.

Tough there are emails and other possible ways of electronic, phone or online communication, snail mails and direct mails are still a business. The USPS brings in about sixteen billion dollars a year! Provided that exchange of greeting cards is a norm in most western countries, an estimated 2.6 billion holiday cards are sold in the United States each year. Stop sending letters, grab the app, design a personalized e-card! Among the total waste generated in the US, 27% of waste is nothing but paper waste, including those used as packaging material.

Extensive use of papers is bringing down more and more trees. We are not putting in conscious efforts to rebuild the forest that we are cutting down in seconds! We often do not give a second thought in throwing a paper to trash because it had a spelling error or it was used one side. What we always forget is that paper can be reused and recycled. Organizations must make it a culture to reuse papers and limit the number of papers an employee can use. Only when we change, can we bring a change in the others.