Have you ever thought about how much paper you use every day and not just at the office? Paper is used in a lot of products that are used in everyday life. But let’s be honest how many people actually think about the paper they use on a daily basis?
Paper is still seen and used as a throwaway resource, think about it, when you go out for dinner you’re usually given a paper menu and a paper napkin which you may or may not even use. And if you didn’t use it you can guarantee that napkin will be thrown in the bin anyway. How about during winter and those pesky colds you so often get. Unless you’re over sixty the chances you use a handkerchief to blow your nose in multiple times a day is minimal. The thought of carrying around a dirty handkerchief in your pocket is sooo not appealing. But if you don’t use them you’re probably going to go through boxes of tissues or for those bad colds a roll of toilet paper. That’s another thing, the bathroom can be a hefty paper use zone what with all the toilet paper and paper towels being used, especially at work or public restrooms. Paper towels are often seen as more time and hygiene efficient compared to using hand dryers.
However, those examples are just scraping the surface of paper use. You’ve also got: tea bag tags, coffee filter paper, printing paper, kitchen towels, newspapers, post-it notes, the notebook you use to keep organised. You may also get your takeaway coffee in a paper cup, or if you buy your lunch and pay for parking you can bet there will be some sort of paper packaging, receipts or chits to display.
So how can we be more aware of the paper we use? We can start to make conscious decisions about the types of paper we purchase. Such as; the types of toilet paper, you can choose from recycled paper like Earthcare or toilet paper made from bamboo. Bamboo is a more sustainable resource compared to using trees, a company called Smart Ass makes this. If you're up for the initial investment you could purchase a Keep Cup or Frank Green reusable coffee cup for takeout coffee needs. At home instead of using napkins or paper towels at dinner, you could use cloth ones which look nicer and are easy to wash. If you're using a public bathroom and there is an option to use a hand dryer over a paper towel use the hand dryer. At the office, ask if the company can purchase sustainable stationery and recycled printing paper if they don't already. And finally, for those idea sessions that call for a good post-it, you can get recycled paper post-its too! There are so many sustainable options to choose from.
We love paper and it comes in handy for so many things. We don’t need to stop using paper altogether, we just need to be smarter with how we use it and consider ways to reduce our usage or find other sustainable options where we can.