You have finished reading the day’s papers, you have read all this month’s magazine issues, you have all these letters, forms and old documents lying around the office. What can you possibly do with all this paper? Throw it away, you would probably say. Let me give you a couple of facts in the hope that I could change your mind.
According to paperproject.org, “in 1997 the total world paper and paperboard production was 299,044 metric tons. It would take about 200,000 Volkswagen Beetle cars to equal this weight.” That is a lot of paper. Where does paper come from and how is it made? Paper is made when we mix wood and water and process them with high energy and heat; and as per thedailygreen.com, 42% of the industrial wood harvest is used to make paper.
Although it is hard to determine exactly how many trees are needed to make a certain amount of paper, we know for a fact that many trees are destroyed everyday to be made into things humans need, like paper. We also know that trees are one of the best carbon dioxide absorbents, contributing to the preserving of the environment and planet.
Many people, when presented with the big environmental problems that our planet is facing, feel helpless. What can I, 1 in 6.5 billion people, do to save the environment? Will my actions have an effect? It is good to know then, that every little thing we do can make a difference. If you change your ways, and start to make wise and informed choices when it comes to the environment, your actions will definitely have an impact. Here are a few fun and useful ways you can reuse the paper lying around in your home or office:
* Print on both sides of your paper; that way you can use half as much as you used to. If you have a pile of papers with print on only one side, use the empty side to print other documents you know you will dispose of after using.
* Cut up any paper with one side of print and use the clean side for shopping lists. That way you can reuse paper and remember what you need from the grocery store.
* Use old newspaper or magazine pages when storing items. Shred or crumple paper and use to stuff into last season’s shoes and bags before storing them. This will keep their shape intact for when you need to use them again. You can also do the same when storing china or other fragile objects.
* Newspaper is the best thing to use when cleaning glass surfaces. Store some old papers and use them on windows, mirrors and glass tables with your regular glass cleaning solution.
* Use paper for origami. Fold newspaper and magazine pages into pretty shapes like the Japanese and place them around your home and office.
There are many uses for paper, whether it’s to help in cleaning, shopping or just decorating. I hope this makes you think twice before throwing away your paper. Oh and don’t stop there! After you have reused your paper, you can always send it off to be recycled. That way, you can make sure you have used your paper all ways possible, and sent off to be made into new paper before having someone cut down another tree.
– Fajr Abbas.