We in the United States use about 663 pounds of paper annually, according to the most recent figures available. If everyone in the U.S. reduced his/her use of paper by 10% of the current levels, the savings would be a little more than 10 million tons of paper each year.
Using Less Matters
- Use both sides!
Set your printers and copiers to double-sided printing as a default, or use the other side for scrap paper and for your kids’ art projects.
- Get rid of your junk mail!
Support Forest Ethics’ Do Not Mail Registry and Center for a New American Dream’s "junk the junk." It saves a lot. Click here to see just how much!
- Stop unwanted catalogues from filling up your mailbox!
Use the free online "Catalog Choice" service so you receive only what you want and put a stop to the rest.
- Replace disposables – paper bags, paper towels, paper napkins, paper cups and plates – with reusables!
- Take advantage of your computer!
- Get and pay bills online.
- Use Green Print free software to stop printing of “orphan pages,” the extras you don’t need.
- And, most of all, think twice before you print.
- Buy copy/printing paper and envelopes with at least 30% post-consumer recycled content.
- Buy 100% recycled toilet paper, tissues, and (if you must) paper towels and napkins.
- Make sure your workplace and school uses best-practice recycling that separates out high-quality printing and writing paper so it can be recovered for more of the same. Don’t let them down-cycle quality paper into newsprint.
- Come back after Labor Day to sign our petition to urge government to set a good example by using best-practice recycling and buying environmentally preferable paper for government agencies and offices.
- And, of course, recycle all the paper you can, and be sure your family, friends, and neighbors do the same!
What You Buy Matters
- Keep our rivers and groundwater pure. Get paper that is totally chlorine free and processed chlorine free (for recycled) instead of bleached with elemental chlorine or chlorine compounds.
- Don’t support deforestation or tree plantations. Ask for paper with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified virgin wood fiber. FSC is the label that assures better standards for certification.
- Help create demand for paper made from non-wood fibers that won’t displace forests or destroy habitats. Some options being explored include paper from agricultural wastes, from hesperaloe, and from kenaf.
- If your old printer can’t be set for double-sided printing, when you replace it make sure your new one can. (And be sure to find a responsible recycler for that old equipment to keep hazardous materials out of landfills and incinerators.)
Being Informed and Responsible Matters
- Pass a link for this film and website on to your circle of connections so they learn how to use paper responsibly.
- Talk with the people who purchase paper at your workplace, school, and community groups about this film and tell them about our paper links for organizations. They’re the largest consumers you have direct contact with and getting information to them has the biggest impact.
- Urge government to take responsibility by setting a good example and increasing demand for environmentally preferable paper. Come back to our website after Labor Day to sign on to our petition.
- Be an Informed consumer. As well as making wise choices about paper in your own life, support companies who do that, too.
- Complain!! If you notice manufacturers and retailers who use unnecessary packaging, use our website for talking points about why they should change their policies and practices. Tell them you’ll stop patronizing them if you don’t see changes.
Links to Information on Best Practices for Offices, Businesses, Schools, and Other Organizations
The following organizations have guidelines and/or offer consultation to large businesses and groups wanting to improve their paper policies and purchasing: