Paper contributes to climate change from the cradle to the grave. If we are going to seriously address climate change, we can begin by making the process of paper production more sustainable.
One ton of virgin magazine paper requires cutting down fifteen trees. Destroying forests for paper eliminates valuable trees that pull carbon out of the atmosphere. According to the United Nations, deforestation accounts for 25% of global carbon emissions caused from human activities.
The process of paper production requires large quantities of energy. As the Green Press Initiative reports, paper production is the fourth largest industrial source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. On top of the carbon released during deforestation for virgin fiber, the process of turning these fibers into paper products makes a massive impact on climate.
As the Environmental Paper Network reports, paper constitutes more than 1/3 of landfill waste and as it decomposes, it releases methane gas that has 23 times the heat trapping power of carbon dioxide. Clearly, paper contributes to our warming planet.
The Climate-Saving Solution: Recycled Paper
The Environmental Protection Agency states that recycling one ton of paper saves 3.3 cubic yards of landfill - which means less methane emissions. The total energy consumed when making pulp from recovered waste paper is significantly lower than that of virgin pulping. Every ton of 100% recycled copy paper saves 17 million BTUs over virgin paper, enough to power the average home for more than two months.