Firstly, it is important to grasp the whole picture with numbers and statistics.
Such as 200 Million trees are cut down daily to produce paper-related products such as books.
That’s 2.5 seconds per tree.
Additionally, there are the effects of said deforestation such as 28 Million metric tons of Carbon Dioxide emissions released per year which makes up 20% of all global Carbon Dioxide emissions.
This article aims to educate the reader thoroughly on the issue of Paper Production and its effects on our forests, biodiversity, and our planet as a whole.
Trees are categorized into Softwood and Hardwood, Softwood is for paper while Hardwood is better for cardboard and stronger printing paper. Therefore, species like spruce, pines, hemlocks, firs, and poplars are harvested year in and out for the growing demand for paper.
In the grand scheme of things, this spells bad news for the biodiversity that relies on particular species of trees, if left unchecked the biodiversity such as the insects and birds could face extinction.
Such species are mostly found in the Northern Hemisphere such as the United States, Canada, and Europe. On the bright side, there are strong and plentiful efforts from governments and Non-Profits to use more sustainable methods and research alternatives, such as using species more built for the Paper and Pulp industry, for example, Bamboo and Hemp and more recently Kenaf. It is still unchartered waters but lots is being done to see a greener approach in this industry
The narrative is different in places like South-East Asia because factors have changed.
Conservation is not a priority but profits to boost the economies that are lagging compared to economies up north.
In Indonesia for example, the paper and pulp industry has overtaken the agriculture and livestock industries combined in their need for trees.
On the island of Sumatra, 20% of deforestation was due to paper production in the 2000s. The figure is bound to have grown by 2023.
In Africa, though the numbers are not astronomical, with dwindling resources worldwide, paper is bound to become highly valuable and investors and companies will turn their eyes to places like the Congo Basin, the Miombo woodlands, and even protected forests like the Karura Forest in Kenya.
Keep in mind, though species that are prized for paper production are not likely to be found in the tropics due to differing temps, demand will outweigh supply by the time people start looking at Africa and Asia. So much so, that prices will be high, and African and Asian governments will be hard-pressed to refuse when such high prices can benefit the people.
Now that the reader is more informed on the issue, now is the time to tackle book recycling.
For one, 70% less energy is used by recycling paper alone.
The bounds in recycling whole books, therefore, are bound to produce an even larger number.
One ton of paper recycled saves exactly 17 trees.
Simply circulating used books will save even more trees.
Purchase books from reliable eco-friendly distributors, give away your books, and buy used books (you’d be surprised how they are still in good quality if you simply have patience and know where to look)
Start saving 17 trees today by recycling your book, and saving our forests.