Paperless offices have become a very popular trend in the UK over the past decade along with a concerted effort to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly. But do many offices stop to consider why they are adopting paperless practices?
As a distributer of multifunctional printers and photocopiers, paper is pretty crucial to the team here at Leemic, so it got us thinking about sustainability and if paper really is the enemy it is made out to be.
As we all know, paper is made predominately from trees and trees are probably one of the most sustainable and truly renewable resources we have left on the planet. As young trees grow, they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and produce oxygen. However, did you know that when trees are harvested into paper they continue to retain carbon dioxide as it is a carbon locking product, just as it would if it was still a tree? Upon further analysis of the paper industry it would appear that more trees are planted than are actually harvested and if we actually stopped producing paper there would, in effect, be fewer trees and thus more carbon dioxide and pollution.
Forest certification ensures that paper and wood only come from well managed forests and no virgin forests are ever used for paper making. In actual fact, only one third of paper is made from the cutting down of trees; the other two thirds come from sawmill waste and recycled paper. The forestry industry also employees millions of people across Europe which is beneficial to the economy, society and the environment alike and between the years 2005-2015, European forests grew by an area equivalent to the size of Switzerland!
It is now commonplace for people to store documents and books electronically via a computer and/or e-reader, however these devices actually have a greater impact on the environment. The manufacturing of electronic devices relies upon the supply of huge amounts of natural resources and are often produced in parts of the world that have poor environmental track records. This is also similar for internet and cloud storage that rely on huge power-gulping servers. This further undermines the concept of going paperless.
In essence the use of paper is a positive thing for the environment. It is a renewable, biodegradable, sustainable product made from trees. The consumption of paper has led to an increase in the plantation of new forests and we have more trees as a result. It is a completely renewable resource. The paper industry provides jobs for millions of men and women around the world. Forests also provide wildlife habitats, clean air, clean water and carbon dioxide storage.
So enjoy the paper you use guilt free from now on, safe in the knowledge you are doing a good thing for the planet by consuming paper! However, when you are done please ensure you dispose of your paper in the recycle bin so it can be re-used and recycled again and again.