going green with sustainable product by Scout Sourcing

What if the Paper Industry Went Green Tomorrow?

Today, humans utilize roughly 1 million tons of paper globally1, and our paper usage is steadily increasing every year. The western world alone consumes over half of the world’s total paper usage per year, and has a unique opportunity to influence our environmental impact as a result. Thankfully, paper is a renewable, recyclable resource, that when used in a sustainable fashion can actually prevent waste, pollution, and deforestation from escalating. However, continuing to produce paper and packaging products in a blind manner can also have serious global consequences. So what happens when consumers push for greener options in the daily essentials we often take for granted?

Sustainable Paper Products Save Lives

Unfortunately, outdated mill technology not only inefficiently harvests forests, it also pollutes and poisons the local vegetation and wild life dependent on those forests, leading to the destruction of ecosystems and extinction of plants and animals. Environmentally conscious businesses promoting the use of recycled pulp, innovative waste and cost saving technology, and well-managed mills and production plants can help prevent the extinction of vulnerable species, like the orangutan2. Ensuring that your paper providers are knowledgeable about the source of their products is essential to saving the roughly 200 to 2,000 species per year that go extinct due to human activity.3

In addition to harming the environment, unethical paper production often exploits individual laborers through unsafe workplace conditions4. The human cost of unsustainable paper and packaging production isn’t always highlighted, but in terms of lives saved, preventing workplace injuries and death through better conditions and environmentally conscious strategies is a win-win for plants, animals, and humans.

Sustainable Paper Products Save Energy and the Economy

Due to the increasing usage of digital tools in every sector of life, the demand for paper has decreased, leading to a 30% reduction over the last decade of paper industry jobs nationwide5. However, the paper production plants that have managed to keep their doors open actually cite sustainable technology as one of the reasons for their continued survival in an increasingly tough industry.6 New technology revamping one hundred year old mills not only prevents pollution and workplace related ailments, it also saves energy and lowers the cost of production. The cost savings generated by sustainable paper products allows paper producers to continue to turn a profit, and support the local economies they operate in.

This is why it’s possible to achieve a less expensive, yet more environmentally conscious paper and packaging industry through consumer choice. If the paper industry went green tomorrow, we’d not only save the environment, we’d save the industry too.

For more insights into the paper industry and how you can contribute to a more ethical marketplace, contact us, and one of our sustainability experts will help guide you in the right direction.

2 http://wwf.panda.org/how_you_can_help/live_green/fsc/save_paper/paper_toolbox/ecologicalsocialfootprintpaper/

3 http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/biodiversity/biodiversity/

4 http://wwf.panda.org/how_you_can_help/live_green/fsc/save_paper/paper_toolbox/ecologicalsocialfootprintpaper/

5 http://midwestenergynews.com/2013/07/19/energy-efficiency-could-be-lifeline-for-aging-paper-mills/

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