Did you know that each year, people in the UK consume the same amount of paper and cardboard as the weight of 3 million elephants? In addition, it would take a forest the size of Wales to produce that much paper per year? Who could’ve imagined that one of the largest contributors to environmental damage is paper?
A few more facts to how the paper and pulp industry is contributing to the air, water and land pollution:
- An A4 paper requires 10 litres of water per sheet.
- 1 kilogram of paper requires 324 litres of water.
- 33-40% of the world’s commercially cut timber is used for the pulp and paper industry.
- Globally we deforest around ten million hectares of forest every year. That's an area the size of Portugal every year.
- Approximately 420 million hectares (or one billion acres) of forest have been lost worldwide since 1990, according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation.
- The forest destruction rate increased by 21 percent in 2020, a loss the size of Israel.
- Pulp and paper operations have devastating impacts on some of the world’s most ecologically vital places and species.
- Unsustainable paper production has caused the destruction of forests with high conservation value, illegal logging, human rights and social conflicts, as well as irresponsible plantation development.
- The life cycle of paper is damaging to the environment from beginning to end. Trees are cut down to provide paper, and when paper is burned, it emits carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
- Paper production has a large water footprint, as most landfill waste is paper. Its decomposition emits methane, a greenhouse gas, and burning or composting paper creates carbon dioxide.
- Paper bags generate 50 times more water pollutants and 70 percent more air pollutants during production than plastic bags.
- It takes 91 percent less energy (measured in British thermal units) to recycle a pound (or about half a kilo) of plastic than a pound of paper.
So how do you minimise the effects of paper pollution? Always try to reuse and recycle where possible.
Consider swapping paper/cardboard for reusable crates. A strong and durable Easycrate will have a much lower environmental impact compared to a cardboard box. Our Easycrates are cleaned, sterilised and reused many times.