As is well known, papermaking is extremely polluting. Although not all paper has the same environmental impact, since the manufacturing processes and their life cycle are variable, as a rule the production of paper is synonymous with pollution.
The paper sector is an industry that has much to improve, no doubt, it fits, but it is no less true that reducing consumption and optimizing the use and recycling of paper is everyone’s responsibility. In AgroCorrn, we explain what is the environmental impact of the manufacture and consumption of paper.
- Goodbye to the trees for paper consumption
- Why making paper pollutes the environment
- Recycle paper to take care of the environment and have a better future
Goodbye to the trees for paper consumption
It is easy to notice the great presence of paper in our society. Since the revolution brought about by the printing press, and especially the mass media, paper is everywhere.
To this we must add the boom in packaging in general in modern times. The post-industrial era has brought us materials of a thousand types, and paper has endless applications as such, as well as in the form of folios and a myriad of accessories that we use (and often abuse) in everyday life.
Its consumption per inhabitant averages several hundred kilos per inhabitant per year. In Spain, for example, each Spaniard spends an amount of paper equivalent to four trees 12 meters high.
An excessive consumption that varies significantly in each country. The Japanese or Americans spend the equivalent of six 12-meter trees and the Belgians more than 8.5 trees.
In contrast, among those who spend the least are Russia, with 1.2 trees per inhabitant, Indonesia (0.67), India (0.23) and Azarbaijan (0.26). Even so, despite the differences, if we take into account the millions of inhabitants in the world, the result is alarming.
One almost wonders how it is possible that there are still trees on the face of the Earth. Not surprisingly, according to a recent study by Yale University, at the current rate of deforestation, trees are left with a sigh.
Specifically, every year 15,000 million trees are lost , and if things continue like this, in 300 years we will erase them from the planet. Also, keep in mind that paper consumption is an indicator of development, so the future looks black.
As Greenpeace reminds us, the destruction of native forests and their replacement by forest plantations has been very damaging to the environment and remains an unsolved problem in much of the world.
Not only because of the loss of habitat for protected species or due to the disappearance of endangered flora, but also because it causes great damage to the balance of the water cycle at a regional and global level.
Sustainability, no doubt, is still a pending task. But that’s not all, because once the raw material is obtained, the manufacturing process adds environmental damage that goes beyond mere manufacturing.
Why making paper pollutes the environment
In addition to this growing consumption worldwide, parallel to the advance of developing countries, its manufacture represents a huge source of pollution.
It even affects the environment from the very planting of trees. Because certified forests are not as sustainable as they seem. In addition to occupying land that could be used for food, according to Greenpeace, the use of herbicides is skyrocketing due to the trend of using transgenic seeds to improve the industrial management of plantations.
For its part, the manufacture of paper itself is a counterexample of ecological production. Large amounts of water, energy and wood are consumed. At the same time, it requires many means of transport, so its carbon footprint is high.
All this has an impact on the environment, and not only because many natural resources are consumed, but also because of the pollution it entails. The atmosphere and water are polluted with chemicals, affecting the environment, such as rivers and adjacent ecosystems.
Therefore, all papers pollute and it would be best not to consume them. And, when we do, let us choose those that respect the environment as much as possible.
But which one to choose? The manufacture of recycled paper is more ecological because we avoid logging and also consume less energy. However, if the methods used are not clean, the paradox could arise that a recycled paper is less green than another made from wood.
The ecological certification will guide us on the best choice to, without stopping consuming it, reducing our impact on the planet.
Recycle paper to take care of the environment and have a better future
It is not necessary to talk about the future to find more eco-friendly bins . Although they are still an exception, there are. They are characterized by their commitment to what they call the new bioeconomy.
They use renewable and recyclable resources and manufacture greener products than traditional ones. Ecological paper, whether it is recycled or not, has a life cycle characterized by a lower environmental impact.
At the same time, the will that citizens show by recycling paper is laudable, no doubt, but that paper that is thrown into the containers is not always recycled. In Spain, without going any further, only a third of urban waste is recycled.
As it is, it is easy to understand that a sustainable future requires much more commitment. The 3Rs of ecology , that of reducing, reusing and recycling are part of the solution, but we can achieve little without abandoning traditional production techniques.
In addition, to help raise awareness of the responsible consumption of paper and other products, we want to offer you this video from AgroCorrn about what is responsible consumption and its benefits.
If you want to read more articles similar to What is the environmental impact of paper consumption , we recommend that you enter our Pollution category .
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