• Reduce paper towels & tissue usage – Paper towels are one of the largest uses of paper in American households. This usage takes a tremendous toll on our forests. To make one ton of paper towels 17 trees and 20,000 gallons of water are polluted. In the U.S. we currently use more than 13 billion pounds of paper towels each year and that number is growing steadily. This equals more than 3,000 tons of paper towel waste in the U.S. alone. As many as 51,000 trees per day are required to replace the number of paper towels that are discarded every day. If every household in the U.S. used just one less 70-sheet roll of paper towels, that would save 544,000 trees each year. If every household in the U.S. used three less rolls per year, it would save 120,000 tons of waste and $4.1 million in landfill dumping fees. Paper towels are easily replaced with cloth towels and handkerchiefs. If you want to be extra eco-friendly, cut up old cotton clothes to use as rags around the house.
• Buy paper products with Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) content – Purchasing PCR products eliminates the consumption of virgin forest by repurposing paper products into everyday products. One person switching from virgin paper products to PCR products can reduce an average of 517 pounds of CO2, 2,804 gallons of water, and one ton of virgin wood every year.
• Use alternative materials – There are several alternatives to wood fiber paper products that can be purchased for all of your paper needs. Hemp, kenaf, and bamboo (a rapidly renewable wood fiber source) are well known. But new processes are allowing garbage and agricultural by-products. All of these options are more environmentally friendly then virgin forests. If you have the option, choose an alternative material source.
• Decrease meat consumption – The agricultural industry is the number one cause of deforestation in the world. Forests are destroyed for livestock and the production of food for that livestock. Reducing your meat consumption will decrease the demand for meat and reduce the speed at which our forests are destroyed.
According to Living Green, fifty-five square feet of rainforest is destroyed for every quarter pound hamburger that comes from a cleared rainforest cattle farm. Try to curb your meat intake by going vegetarian for one day a week. See how it feels and increase if it seems right.
Thank you for taking the time to read our May Green Tip. We hope you find it hopeful. And know that any and all habitual changes will make a huge difference on forest and the numerous benefits they provide.