CarbonCurb Action 17 - Reduce Paper Waste
The pulp, paper, and printing industries account for about 1% of global CO2 emissions. They account for even more climate damage if you consider the reality that some pulp and paper companies (such as WestRock) actually impede the adoption of renewable energy by collaboratively selling artificial renewable energy credits (RECs) to energy companies (such as Ameren Missouri) so that the energy companies can claim to be in compliance with the renewable portfolio requirements in their states. Meanwhile, westrocks and amerens boost sales and improve PR through false advertising by exaggerating how renewable they are. It is a fraud that is counterproductive, unethical, and underscores the goal of renewable energy mandates.
U.S. office employees use an average of 10,000 sheets of paper per person per year. The CO2 emissions from producing, transporting, and disposing of paper are approximately equal to the weight of the paper itself. Think about that next time you are holding a ream of paper or a textbook. Aside from printer paper, Americans have an addiction to other paper products, such as paper towels. The average American uses more than one roll of cloth paper towels per week and uses other paper towels or napkins to clean or dry their hands dozens of times per week. Each roll of paper towels contributes about half a kilogram of CO2 to our atmosphere. A single hand drying scenario uses over 10 grams of CO2. Action 17 is all about recognizing the wasteful ways we use paper, whether in the office, in the bathroom, or at home. Instead of purchasing rolls of paper towels, use washable rags, hand towels, and linen napkins. Instead of using paper towels or hand dryers after washing your hands, give them a couple of good shakes and wipe your hands on your clean pantleg. If you are hesitant to wipe water on your clothes but you must immediately have dry hands, keep a personal towel with you. Only print things off that must absolutely be printed. If you need a break from the screen, blue light glasses help you avoid eye strain and prevent unnecessary printing. The impact of changing your view on paper is:
100 kg CO2e
0.6% of your GHGs
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