Renewable Energy Living: Tree-Free Paper, Recycled Buildings and Energy Literacy

The Green Gazette column shares renewable energy living topics, including tree-free paper, recycling building materials and energy literacy through the Renewable Energy Demonstration Program.

| October/November 2002

  • Recycling building materials for a second use.
    Recycling building materials for a second use.
  • Learn about energy literacy.
    Learn about energy literacy.
  • An illustration that explains energy consumption.
    An illustration that explains energy consumption.

  • Recycling building materials for a second use.
  • Learn about energy literacy.
  • An illustration that explains energy consumption.

The Green Gazette column focuses on renewable energy living topics, this issue includes tree-free paper, recycling building materials for a second use and learning about energy literacy through REDP.

Push Your Pencil on Tree-Free Paper

Nearly half the trees cut in North America feed our paper frenzy, and the pulp and paper industries continue to rely on virgin wood for almost 70 percent of their total fiber supply, while non-wood-fibers represent less than 1 percent of total feedstock inputs.

A Mammoth Mountain of Memos Every 12 months, a single office employee can stack up to a 4-foot-high column of 10,000 sheets of used paper. Photocopying consumes an average of 27 pounds of paper per person, per year.

A rash of reports, juggernauts of junk mail: They all add up to piles of paper routed to the recycling bin or, worse, to the wastebasket. Despite the computer-age promise of a paper-free world, each American uses 700 pounds of paper every year, on average, and that amount is growing rapidly. By 2010, a 50 percent increase in paper consumption is expected worldwide.

Constant overlogging has left less than 5 percent of the nation's virgin forests standing, according to Fiber Futures, a nonprofit environmental advocacy and consulting group. Despite projected shortages, wood fiber continues to be the No. 1 raw ingredient for paper production.

So what's a tree-hugger to do?

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