Green Living: Green Living Guides

Why Do It?
Smart Paper Policies Are Good for Business

  • Saving paper saves your business money. A typical office disposes of about 350 pounds of wastepaper per employee per year. If you figure out ways to save some of that paper, you can avoid turning some of your company's profit over to its paper suppliers.


  • An eco-friendly paper policy will give you an edge over your competitors when it comes to winning the hearts and minds of your clients. Prospective customers will rightly conclude that your company values the environment, and that you feel an obligation to be a good corporate citizen. And they'll wonder if your competition can make a similar claim.


  • A program to conserve and recycle paper can boost employee morale, by giving employees an opportunity to be involved in a long-term effort to protect the environment.


  • A smart paper program will send a message to your investors -- shareholders or owners -- that you're looking to cut costs while being a good corporate citizen. They can feel good about investing in your company while making a profit at the same time.


  • An environmentally friendly paper program can be good public relations. Use online paper calculators or vendor statistics to keep track of how many trees you're saving, how much water and energy you're saving, and how many greenhouse gas emissions you're avoiding through smart paper purchase and use. Once you're proud of your program, brag about it to the media.


  • Establishing preferences for environmentally friendly paper will make it less likely that you'll face environment-related liabilities resulting from pollution associated with your procurement, production and supply chain.


  • Instituting a program to procure environmentally preferred paper products will help build market demand and tamp down prices for these products.


  • A successful program will help your company meet the important organizational objective of doing business in environmentally sustainable ways.

...and Good for the Environment.

  • The pulp and paper industry consumes 42 percent of all wood harvested for industrial uses, contributing to the degradation of natural forest ecosystems around the world.


  • Paper products are the single largest component of the garbage that goes into landfills and incinerators.


  • The pulp and paper industry is the single largest industrial consumer of water - and water polluter -- in OECD countries. And it is the third biggest emitter of global warming pollution in industrialized nations.


  • By reducing the paper your company uses, you can help rein in a number of environmental problems, including global warming, clearcutting of forests, air pollution from incinerators, water pollution from the paper-making process, and overflowing landfills.


  • Replacing a ton of virgin fiber to make magazine stock paper with a ton of recycled fiber reduces
    • net greenhouse gas emissions by 47 percent
    • particulate emissions by 28 percent
    • wastewater by 33 percent
    • solid waste by 54 percent
    • wood use by 100 percent


  • Buying 40 cases of copy paper made from 30 percent postconsumer paper instead of paper made from virgin pulp saves
    • more than seven trees
    • 2,100 gallons of water
    • 1,230 kilowatt-hours of electricity
    • 18 pounds of air pollution


  • Forty cases of copy paper made from 100 percent postconsumer paper saves
    • 24 trees
    • 7,000 gallons of water
    • 4,100 kilowatt hours of electricity
    • 60 pounds of air pollution


  • Experts project a 70 percent increase in tropical and subtropical timber harvesting specifically for papermaking in less than a decade. In tropical forests, deforestation is already eliminating one acre of forest every second.
Guide for Businesses
» Why Do It?
  Strategies
  Success Stories
  Toolkit


Guide for Consumers
Learn More
The Paper Business, Present and Future

Paper Industry Overview

last revised 9.19.06

Sign up for NRDC's online newsletter

See the latest issue >

Subscribe to This Green Life

Get Your Green Life Delivered
To have our monthly journal on living sustainably sent to you by email, subscribe to our mailing list.

Related Stories

How to Clean Up Our Water
Twelve simple actions to clean up and conserve our waters.
Seafood Specials: Great Recipes that Help Save Oceans
Recipes to serve a healthy, feel-good seafood meal.
How to Reduce Your Energy Consumption
Make energy-efficient choices and save money without giving up the comforts of home.
Organic Food 101
What exactly is organic food, and what are its advantages for farmers and the public?

NRDC Gets Top Ratings from the Charity Watchdogs

Charity Navigator awards NRDC its 4-star top rating.
Worth magazine named NRDC one of America's 100 best charities.
NRDC meets the highest standards of the Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau.


Donate now >

Share | |