Tips for a Tree-Free Home: Many Ways to Pare Down Paper Use
If one in five households switched to electronic bills, statements and payments, the collective impact would save 151 million pounds of paper annually, eliminating 8.6 million full garbage bags and 2 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the PayItGreen Alliance. While computers continue to offer significant environmental benefits, there are other “tree-mendous” things we can do to conserve forest resources.
• Paper bags can be substituted for plastic bags as trash can liners and serve as compost-ready receptacles for fruit and vegetable scraps. Chasing Green describes many ways to reuse paper bags after cutting them along the seams; use them to wrap gifts and shipping boxes or let the kids paint or draw on them.
• Use the blank side of sales receipts, envelopes, shopping lists and other paper scraps to jot down to-do lists, notes and more. The family can keep a small pile that everyone can tap into.
• Replace paper napkins and towels with cloth napkins or portions of old T-shirts that can be washed and reused.
• Choose paper products that are gentle on the Earth in how they are made. TreeZero Inc. markets, supplies and distributes 100 percent carbon-neutral paper made from recycled sugarcane waste fiber.
• Consider “branching out” and help protect trees that are being threatened by overharvesting, development and the effects of climate change by supporting the Alliance for Community Trees, a national nonprofit that plants trees in communities across the nation. Get the shovels ready to pitch in when the Arbor Day Foundation celebrates its 148th annual tree-planting events on April 26—especially important this year due to the destruction of many trees from recent hurricanes and fires.
This article appears in the February 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings.