Is Paper Bad For The Environment?

Paper would have to be one of the most used physical materials for communication ever since it was created. It has a diverse range of commercial and personal applications, from pocket sized notepads, through to large format posters and anything in between. Given how widely used it is, there can sometimes be a stigma around using paper. A lot of people tend to see it as something that’s used once, then thrown away and therefore has a negative impact on our environment.
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Whilst it may seem like a fair assumption – there’s always two sides to every story. Sustainability is important to all of us, so we wanted to share some other perspectives.

Is Paper Really a Wasteful Product?

Whether you’re printing promotional materials or using paper towels – most people believe once it’s in the bin, it will go to landfill and eventually decompose. Believe it or not, this is not always the case, because paper is one of the most recyclable materials in the world.

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According to Australia’s National Waste Report 2018, our recycling rate is at 60%, where a good percentage of the paper you are using today comes from recycled paper. Even when paper is used, it still contains cellulose fibers that can be used in the mixture for making new paper, which means it’s not as wasteful as most people may think.

Is Paper Actually Bad For The Environment?

Apart from the thought that paper is wasteful, most people also believe the production of paper is bad for the environment. This usually comes from the thought that we need to chop down trees to make paper, as well as use a lot of water and energy in the process. At face value, it makes sense that paper isn’t really great for the environment. But as we said, there’s always two sides to every story. Here’s some of the most common sticking points people have with paper, and some insights most of aren’t really aware of.

melbourne printing company, sustainable printersDon’t we need to cut down lots of trees to make paper?

Yes, trees are used to make paper and chopping down trees doesn’t seem great for the environment. But paper production has come a long way.

As we’ve mentioned, a large portion of fiber used in paper production is actually recycled, meaning there aren’t as many trees cut down to make paper as there used to be. A lot of virgin fiber used in paper production is then sourced from sustainable forests where trees are being regrown as they’re cut down.

Isn’t a lot of water used to make paper?

Another big reason people believe paper is bad for the environment is because of the amount of water used in the production of paper. There definitely is a lot of water used to make paper, but what most people don’t know is that after the water is used, it’s treated before either being reused, or returned to the source.

Doesn’t paper production use a lot of energy?

Similar to the water argument – another negative perception people have of paper is the amount of energy used to make it and its contribution to greenhouse emissions. At a global level, the paper industry accounts for less than 1% of all greenhouse gas emissions. In comparison, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, fluorinated gases used in refrigeration and industrial processes make up 2%, and nitrous oxide used in fertilisers makes up approximately 6%. Furthermore, in a lot of cases, the energy being used in paper production typically comes from renewable resources such as solar, hydro or wind.

These are some of the most common issues people have with using paper, which used to be real issues in the early days of manufacturing paper. Thankfully quite a bit has changed in recent years, and in a lot of ways, this can be attributed to us being more environmentally aware and influencing businesses to make more sustainable decisions. From here, we can all do our part to continue recycling paper and not just lumping all our waste in one basket.

Choosing the Right Paper for Your Business Printing Needs

Commercial melbourne printing, sustainable printersIf you want to ensure that your paper is as healthy as possible for the environment – you can’t just choose any random paper product. You want to make sure your paper has an optimal mixture of recycled paper and virgin fiber.

If making environmentally friendly choices for business printing needs is important to you, working with a sustainability focused printer can make things a lot easier. They’ll have access to a range of recycled papers to meet your needs, paper that’s manufactured and meets the ISO 14001 EMS (Environmental Management Systems). They’ll also be able to provide print products that are FDA certified, making them suitable to be in direct contact with food or medical products.

If you’re looking for an environmentally friendly paper alternative, we also stock stone paper. Stone paper is made from crushed stones collected from industry byproducts. These are then bound by a resin to form paper with a velvety matte texture. The result is a strong, durable, waterproof paper that is made from alternate resources. Compared to wood pulp fiber paper, it’s completely free of tree material, emits low carbon, and uses less energy. Not to mention that its processing does not use any acids or other chemicals that may be harmful. The best part? It’s also highly recyclable!

Choose Inkifingus for your sustainable printing needs

Frequent use of paper may have an effect on the environment – only if we don’t use it responsibly and wisely.  As you can see – there’s a lot of misconceptions out there about paper, and a whole lot of ways we can use paper responsibly.

You can have your share in this vision and participate in reusing, recycling and re-purposing paper. At Inkifingus, paper selection is just one of our sustainable practices we help our clients with. When you partner with us, we’ll ensure the product is fit for purpose, as well as choose materials and services that will make our environment as sustainable as possible.

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