Every year in the United States, vast amounts of paper are used in homes, offices, and schools. Estimates of the amount of paper in landfills ranges from 25 to 40 percent. That's a lot of paper! And even though many people diligently recycle paper products, the other two Rs, reduce and reuse, aren't being performed so thoroughly. When it comes to paper, most people simply skip to the third option, but reducing your paper use can actually be far more effective. Here are some tips on how to use less paper.
HOW TO LOWER PAPER USE
- Work or study on laptop or desktop computers: every page you print is another piece of paper that you probably didn't need to use.
- See if your supervisor/teacher will allow you to turn in essays or homework via e-mail, instead of printing them.
- Change your word processor's default margin settings to a smaller amount.
- Use smaller font sizes; you will fit more words on each page.
- Print on both sides of the page to save 50 percent on paper.
- Politely decline when a cashier asks if you want your receipt. How many times do you actually keep or use it, anyway?
- If you do only print on one side of a page, use the back for scratch paper instead of using a new sheet.
- Try to get your office/school to buy chlorine-free paper. This doesn't save paper, but it saves the environment. Paper treated with chlorine releases dioxins that can cause cancer and other diseases.
- Replace your toilet paper with 100 percent recycled paper. If every household in the United States replaced one four-pack of 400-sheet toilet paper with the recycled version, it could save 1,450,000 trees, 523 million gallons of water, and avoid 89,000 pounds of pollution.
Remember to follow all three Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Reduce what you use, reuse what is still usable, and recycle everything left.