Everyday we use paper to write down lists of things we are too lazy to do or maybe doodle on our homework handout but we don't really understand the process of how these rectangular 8"x11" sheets are made and the harm of the chemicals used in the making.
Paper Cutz 4 Plant Ark is an organization to reduce the amount of paper used in "low involvement" communications where the substitution of an electronic medium would be better suited. Their main focus is to reduce the amount of paper used and have many topics and discussions on the environmental impacts of paper manufacturing.
In the article "Environmental Impacts of Paper Manufacturing" topics such as the effects pre-manufacturing and post-use(in the landfills). Production of paper is a very chemical intensive process, it is also the largest industry user per tonne of product in the United States of America. (PaperCutz 4 PlanetArk, Environmental Impacts of Paper Manufacturing) To top that, the pulp and paper industry ranks fourth among industrial sectors in emissions of Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) chemicals to water, and third in such releases to air. (PaperCutz 4 PlanetArk, Environmental Impacts of Paper Manufacturing)
The chemicals used in paper manufacture, including dyes, inks, bleach, and sizing, can also be harmful to the environment when they are released into water supplies and nearby land after use. (How Products are Made: Paper) This can contaminate the water supply with chemicals for a variety uses such as bleaching(Sodium Dithionite, Sodium Hypochlorate, Sodium Peroxide, Sodium Thiosulfate, etc) In large concentrates, these chemicals can be proven lethal. (ToxNet) As one can assume, this is not a typically ideal substance to find in our drinking water.
PaperCutz 4 PlantArk also delves into the chemical effects of the paper when it ends up in the landfills. Once in a landfill, paper has the potential of decomposing and producing methane gas which goes into the atmosphere and contributes to the trapping of Carbon Monoxide in the atmosphere. (PaperCutz 4 PlanetArk, Environmental Impacts of Paper Manufacturing) These side effects will be a little more harmful than a measly paper cut, that's for sure!
QOTD: So do you think that switching over to a more electronic communication medium is more effective and worth saving the environment from the chemicals? To what extent should we prioritize online resources as media instead of paper products?
Thank you! To see the Bibliography see the Resources post.