Our planet’s resources are varied and precious. Few are more important and significant in our human lives than paper. We utilize it in nearly every aspect of our many daily activities – from various sundries to product fulfillment, construction, fashion, food preparation, and beyond. Earth Day is on April 22nd, which often brings up questions and misconceptions about our reliance on paper and what we can do to be the most environmentally-friendly as possible. Unlike many of the resources we extract from the earth, paper is inherently renewable and recyclable. With so much information and contrasting opinions available, here’s some information about using paper with purpose.
89% of pulpwood harvested in the United States comes from private tree farms. That means that using paper actually incentivizes landowners to maintain their forestlands. Tree farms are planted and replanted for the very purpose of making paper products. Trees are a crop, just like the potatoes or apples we eat. We can grow as many trees as we want for a virtually endless supply of paper.
Sustainable forest practices, forest certification, and government regulations require mandatory regeneration so that harvested areas continue to produce forests for the long term. For every tree harvested from a managed tree farm, five more are planted, adding 1.7 million trees every day! Today, the US has 20% more trees than it did on the first Earth Day Celebration in 1970. If we stopped using paper, these tree farms could very well be forced to develop their land into real estate–and once the trees are gone, they’re gone for good. Fortunately we do use paper, and when we do, we grow more and more trees.
Electronic communication has its environmental impacts as well. It’s estimated that internet equipment in America’s homes consumed more than $1 billion worth of electricity in 2021, resulting in five million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. This is the annual equivalent of tailpipe emissions of 1.1 million vehicles. Unlike these electronic impacts, paper can offset its own impact. One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and emits four tons of oxygen. Through the process of photosynthesis, every tree can absorb more than 10 pounds of carbon each year – offsetting the carbon that’s emitted during the paper-making process. Each year the US’s forests store enough carbon to offset about 12% of the entire nation’s carbon emissions.
Not all paper is created equally. We’ve put a lot of thought into our paper, so you can enjoy a quality planning experience. For more information on how our paper is made, you can check out our blog post, Our Paper: Taking a Closer Look. Equipped with this information, we encourage you to paper with purpose.