Most people tend not to think much about where the paper in their notebooks or office printer trays comes from. But paper, in all its various forms, effects the environment in a pretty big way. That’s because traditional paper is made from wood pulp. That pulp comes from freshly cut trees, around 16 percent are farmed, according to the Ecology Global Network. Cutting wild trees for paper production poses obvious problems, including loss of habitat for wildlife.
One must also consider the amount of land and energy it takes to harvest farmed trees for paper production. Farms of any kind take up valuable land that could be dedicated to much-needed wildlife habitats. The energy needed to cut and process trees into paper releases CO2 into the atmosphere, contributing to the buildup of greenhouse gasses, which exacerbate climate change. Yet the world consumes around 300 million tons of paper each year. Luckily, though its use is not yet widespread, an alternative to traditional paper exists, and its carbon footprint is much smaller than that of traditional paper.