We have a present for you, one we hope you will love and share.
Our partners in cutting paper waste, including the Story of Stuff, the Product Stewardship Institute, Green America, the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and Root Solutions, have at the ready easy, long term steps you can take to reduce paper waste. This combination of steps is the gift of saving forests and decreasing clutter and toxics that we want to give you. With a few clicks, and especially if you’re willing to give this gift to others, you’re going to make a significant difference.
That’s because North America has by far the highest per person paper consumption in the world. And if you look at the average paper use per person around the world, people in the US use more than four times that average. (Source: FAO Yearbook of Forest Products 2010-2014, p 186, published in 2016.)
Our forests and our climate can’t handle this.
Some of the drivers behind this paper use? Not only excessive use of paper for printing and packaging, but a great deal is from paper no one wanted in the first place, like catalogs, receipts, and phone books. Now we’ve got deforestation, waste, clutter and, it turns out, toxic chemicals, too. Many paper receipts, for example, expose shoppers and workers to BPA and other toxics.
Now you can take four simple steps to change all that:
Step 1. Stop the catalogs and other junk mail you don’t want.
The Catalog Choice project of the Story of Stuff makes it easy to opt-out of unwanted catalogs and other forms of junk mail—the average American gets 44 pounds per year. 500,000 trees have been saved by this effort so far. Click here to sign up and choose the mail you don’t want. Already signed up? Sign in on the same page to start submitting catalog opt-outs. For example, you could block those unwanted catalogs that somehow found you in time for the holidays. Catalog choice has nearly 10,000 titles in the database, from clothing brands to credit card companies to charities.
Step 2. Opt out of getting a phone book.
The Phone Book Opt Out Toolkit from the Product Stewardship Institute is part of their work to save the approximately 4.7 million trees it takes per year in the U.S. to print phone books, many of which are thrown out as soon as they’re delivered. Click here to opt out of phone book delivery yourself today. The Toolkit includes a variety of copy-and-paste outreach materials — including sample social media posts, newsletter language, an animated video, and more — that you can use to promote phone book opt-out to your friends, family, colleagues, and larger networks. Click here for those.
Step 3. Say no to paper receipts.
The Skip the Slip project from Green America is an effort to end the use of over 250 million gallons of oil, nearly 10 million trees, and 1 billion gallons of water each year to make thermal paper receipts, which are not even recyclable and contribute 1.5 billion pounds of waste per year. Click here to take the Skip the Slip pledge and to learn more about about the toxics in paper receipts that shoppers and workers are touching along with the paper. And click here if you’re a business owner looking at switching from paper receipts or you’re concerned about your contact with receipts while you’re on the job.
Step 4. Team up and share this gift.
Two of our partners in cutting paper waste are the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and Root Solutions. They are partnering on an innovative project to help universities save paper on their campuses, using human centered design and behavioral economics to change the way students, faculty and administration interact with paper. Each school is implementing a behavior change campaign and sharing what they learn with other participating campuses to increase everyone’s success.
In turn, all of the groups in this blog are sharing ideas for how to reach more people and conserve more forests and paper with our work. Take a moment to think who you can share this blog with–friends, family, co-workers, etc. who care about keeping the planet happy, their homes tidy, and their bodies healthy for the long term–and then think on other ways you could team up with them to talk with schools, businesses, cities, to do the same. The best gifts get better and better the more we share them.