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Reducing paper consumption

Roll of paper.
Photo: iStock
Roll of paper.

In theory, computers were supposed to reduce paper consumption. Maybe you remember hearing the term “paperless office.” Unfortunately, the opposite has become true. Over the past 15 years, the amount of paper used at work and at home has quadrupled! Here are some tips to reduce overconsumption of paper:

Receive and pay your bills over the Internet.

You already know that making paper uses a lot of energy, trees, water and polluting chemicals. Many companies that mail out invoices make no effort to use recycled paper. On the other hand, most of them offer electronic billing. This is a good way to save mature trees from being cut down. It also helps improve the environment by limiting greenhouse gases (produced during transportation and manufacturing), saving water and reducing water pollution.

Say no to junk mail.

Every week, 11,000 tonnes of paper advertising are distributed in Montréal alone. Every year, 45,000 trees, or half the trees in Mount Royal Park, are cut down to make this advertising. It also costs Montrealers over $1 million per year to recycle it. Do you really read all those ads? If not, you can help to reduce waste by putting a “No flyers” sticker on your mailbox. You can get a sticker at your eco-quartier office or a hardware store.  

Don’t waste paper, so you have to recycle as little as possible.

Paper cannot be recycled indefinitely. Its fibres become shorter with every cycle, reducing the quality of the end product. In fact, paper can be recycled only about ten times. One more reason to print only when necessary and always use both sides!

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