I recently registered at www.YellowPagesGoesGreen.org. This is a grassroots organization that is asking people interested in opting out to please tell family, friends, and co-workers about their program. Thousands of people are signing up every month trying to help stop the delivery of an unsolicited telephone book to people that do not want one. At the website thegoodhuman, it is estimated that 500 million phone directories are printed and delivered each year. This many directories mean 19 million trees (1.6 billion pounds of paper) were cut as well as using 3.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity and generating 268,000 cubic yards of solid waste that ended up in landfills.
That waste figure doesn’t include the books themselves if recycling is not available in one’s community. If you want to take a second step to reduce paper, try Catalog Choice. In the sustainability blog sustainablog, Robin Shreeves (Aug 2008) cited a 2002 report issued by Environmental Defense, which stated that 17 billion catalogs are sent out each year in the US. The Environmental Defense Organization (ED) estimated that many catalogs to be about 3.6 million tons of paper. Imagine what the figures are eight years later. Shreeves cited more troubling info from ED: “over 95% of American catalogs are printed on virgin paper. If all of those catalogs contained just 10% post-consumer recycled paper, which has no significant cost or quality differences from virgin paper, 1 trillion 702 billion pounds of wood [my emphasis] could be saved annually. That translates into saving a whole heck of a lot of trees that could be absorbing carbon dioxide.”
What creative paper saving strategies are we up to here at STLCC? Send me your best ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will post these in future blogs.