According to a study by the Ecology Global Network, paper production is responsible for the chopping down of approximately four billion trees per year. If you’re worried about the environment, you can make a small dent in the demand for deforestation by using paper sparingly, efficiently, and reusing it when possible. Here are 10 practices you can adopt to save trees at home.
1. Go paperless
If you still receive physical bank statements, bills, and other similar documents, consider taking your accounts online. Almost all financial accounts and most service payments can be made online. And statements are organized automatically so they’re easy to pull up for reference later on. Going paperless is good for the environment, and also something you’ll likely benefit from organizationally.
2. Use your printer less
Are you used to printing emails, tickets, reading material for class or work, or anything else? If you are, start asking yourself whether you really need to print material before pressing Ctrl+P. When possible, print on double-sided paper.
3. Try an eReader
Another way you can help reduce demand for paper is to read digital books. If you’ve already given a digital reader a shot and much prefer paper, check out books from the library rather than buy them.
4. Use scratch paper
Keep a box, bin, or drawer filled with paper scraps you can use for writing notes and reminders.
5. Towel-dry hands
Towel or air-dry your hands after using the bathroom and when working in the kitchen. In the kitchen, especially, it can be easy to reach for a paper towel. Unfortunately, what’s easy in this case is also wasteful.
6. Use paper towels sparingly
While we’re on the subject of paper towels, those convenient mess cleaner uppers should be used as infrequently as possible. If you aspire to be a model environmental steward, challenge yourself to not keep paper towels in your apartment. It’s a great way to save trees.
7. Opt for cloth napkins
Like paper towels, paper napkins are a tree-intensive product for which perfectly good substitutes exist. If you typically use paper napkins, start using cloth in their stead. Cloth napkins are elegant, easy to clean, and can be used hundreds of times.
8. Buy recycled paper products
When you must use paper, use recycled paper if possible. Printer paper, paper towels, toilet paper, and other products made with post-consumer or recycled paper are available.
9. Reuse gift bags
When someone gifts you something, neatly fold the bag it came in and reuse it when giving a gift to someone else.
10. Say no to paper and plastic
When the grocery store cashier asks whether you’d prefer “paper or plastic,” be prepared to say “neither.” Keep totes or reusable shopping bags in your apartment, ideally somewhere where you’ll see them on your way out the door so you’re unlikely to forget and leave without them.
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