Because paper gets used every day in one form or another, people tend to use a lot of paper, but, thankfully, there are ways to reduce the amount of paper you use. Have you ever stopped to think about how much paper you use in a day? Between the paper towel, Kleenex, paper cups, paper bags, napkins, printing paper, and note paper, it can really add up and increase your impact on the environment. Thankfully, since paper is such a widely used product, there are many easy ways to reduce the amount of paper you use.
1. Print Double Sided
One of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of paper you use is to print double sided whenever you can. You will automatically be using half as much printing paper. I always print double sided, and it is so easy to do. You simply have to make sure your printer setting is set to double sided. Just one click and you reduce the amount of paper you use!
2. Clean with Rags
Using paper towels to dust and clean windows can seem so easy. You just throw away the dirty paper towels when you are finished. However, using paper towels for cleaning purposes is quite wasteful. Instead of using paper towels, switch to rags. You will be using less paper, and all you have to do is wash a bunch of them together when you have enough for a load of laundry.
3. Cloth Napkin
Instead of using cloth napkins only at fancy restaurants, why not use them at home too? Growing up, we always used cloth napkins. Each person had their own napkin and their own napkin ring. By not using paper napkins, we were able to decrease the amount of paper we used, and you can too.
4. Reusable Cups
Instead of using the paper coffee cups that you get at the coffee shop, bring your own to-go cup. Most coffee shops are happy to use your cup instead of the paper cups. You can do this for tea, water, juice, and just about any other type of beverage. So long as you remember your cup, this is an easy way to reduce paper consumption.
My dad always used a handkerchief to blow his nose, which I thought was so cool. While I doubt my dad was thinking much about his paper consumption, by using a handkerchief instead of a Kleenex he was cutting down on his paper consumption. If using a handkerchief is a little off putting to you, keep in mind it will get washed. Also, the soft cloth will keep your nose from getting red.
6. Reusable Bags
Instead of using paper bags for packing a lunch and carrying groceries, you can cut down on your paper consumption by switching to reusable bags. For kids, lunch boxes with characters are a great, and for adults a simple lunch box is all that is needed. In addition to switching to a lunch box to reduce paper consumption, you can also use reusable bags for groceries.
7. Libraries and E-Readers
If you read a lot and buy your books, consider either using the library or getting an e-reader. A lot of paper is used to print a new book, but if you check one out from the library you will not be contributing to further consumption of paper. In addition to checking books out from the library, you can also get an e-reader. Because the books are electronic there is no paper used. Plus, you have the gratification of getting the books whenever you want.
It is surprisingly easy to reduce the amount of paper you use. With minimal effort you can greatly cut down on your paper consumption, and, consequently, reduce your environmental impact. What do you do to reduce the amount of paper you use?