What’s the difference between the environmental impact of 100% recycled paper and virgin paper?
Using a ton of 100% post consumer content recycled paper instead of the same amount of non-recycled paper results in the following (according to the Environmental Paper Network’s Paper Calculator*):
- 4 tons LESS wood consumed (which equals about 26 trees)
- 11 million BTU‘s LESS of net energy use
- 2,068 pounds LESS of CO2 equivalent
- 2 pounds LESS of hazardous air pollutants
- 11,218 LESS gallons of water used
- 751 LESS pounds of solid waste
Using recycled paper helps the environment in a number of ways. First, by not using wood in its production, trees aren’t cut down. Trees, as we know, store carbon (which is good as it means the carbon isn’t going into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas). Secondly, the use of recycled paper helps keep virgin paper out of landfills, where, when decomposing, it releases greenhouse gases. Third, as evident in the points above, the use of recycled paper instead of virgin paper means less energy and water are wasted in the production process, and less pollution and solid waste is created. For these reasons and more, it makes sense to use 100% post consumer recycled paper.
(* Environmental impact estimates were made using the Environmental Paper Network Paper Calculator. For more information visit www.papercalculator.org).