What is Paper-Neutrality?
Kind of like being carbon neutral, people and organizations can be paper-neutral, or even paper-negative. Just as Carbon Offset programs help businesses offset their carbon emissions, Paper-Newt helps people and businesses offset the impact of their paper use.
One difference though is that going Paper-Neutral through Paper-Newt not only positively impacts the environment (like carbon offsets can potentially do), but it also impacts local communities by strengthening the non-profits and charities that matter most to you as a Paper-Newt participant.
Join Paper-Newt today, go Paper-Neutral, and make both an environmental and social impact on your community!
What’s a Paper Footprint?
A paper footprint is the environmental impact on forests, ecosystems, CO2 emissions, and other consequences of using paper. All businesses have a paper footprint when they use paper. It’s a fact of life. When businesses use recycled paper instead of virgin paper, however, their footprint is smaller. They can further reduce their paper footprint (i.e., the environmental impact of their use of paper) by using environmentally-responsible 100% post-consumer recycled paper, reducing their overall paper use, re-using paper wherever possible, and recycling everything that can’t be re-used.
Why Going Paper-Neutral Helps the Environment & What You Can Do
If you use a thousand pieces of paper in a year your use of paper has an impact on the environment. Admittedly, the impact of just you is small. But now imagine the impact of 6 billion people on the planet all using a thousand pieces of paper. The paper piles up, and so does the damage! If even just 3 million people in a city the size of Vancouver use a thousand pieces of paper, that means a lot of cut down trees, chemical intensive processing, and pollution from waste.
Now, imagine that instead of using a thousand pieces of paper you can cut that down to 500, in part because you go without when you don’t need it, and in part because you either use both sides of paper or re-use one-sided paper whenever you can. Your footprint has now been cut in half. Then, instead of using virgin paper, imagine you now only use 100% post-consumer recycled paper, and whenever you can’t reuse old paper you make sure it gets recycled. Your paper footprint is now starting to look pretty small. But how can you reduce your paper footprint to nothing, or even totally negate your negative impact on the environment (remember from elementary school math how two negatives make a positive?). What can you do? You can go paper-neutral, that’s what!
To become paper-neutral you can do either one of two things: (1) become a hermit and refuse to ever buy, receive or cause another piece of paper to be used in your life, or (2) find some way to offset the environmental impact of the paper that you do use. Say you still use 500 pieces of paper a year. What would be the impact, do you think, of your helping someone else cut their use of paper by 500 pieces per year? You still use 500 pieces, but because of your actions 500 less pieces of paper are being used somewhere else. Or what if an organization you know uses 10,000 pieces of virgin non-recycled paper a year, and you help them cut that down to 5,000 pieces of 100% recycled, non-virgin paper? Hmmm, … Yes, it is possible to become paper-neutral. And the Paper-Newt program helps make it both legitimate and easy.
When a Negative Becomes a Positive:
When you use paper you have a negative impact on the environment, even if only infinitesimally slight. You have a paper footprint – you have left a mark. To compensate, if you cause more environmental good than bad from what you do with paper, then your net impact (or total footprint) can actually be positive.