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Excessive paper waste is a major problem for the environment, but how can you save more paper in the bathroom?

In a previous blog, we talked about the growing water crisis in the world, and how Americans have added to it through excessive water waste. However, our water use isn’t the only habit that we have in our homes that is threatening to the environment. The way we use paper products, particularly in the bathroom, can also have negative effects on the planet.

Why is paper waste such a serious problem?

If you aren’t recycling the paper you are using, it is going to end up in a landfill. In fact, paper waste makes up for 33 percent of municipal waste and a quarter of the water in landfills. The United States consumes roughly 15 billion rolls of toilet paper per year, none of which is recyclable, and toilet paper is just one of our many uses for paper. Not only does our heavy reliance on paper add to landfills, it also has devastating effects on our trees.

Trees — A Finite Resource

There are roughly 300 million tons of paper produced every year, and we have to cut down 68 million trees every year to keep up. In 2015, the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies completed a study, which they claimed was the most comprehensive census of trees ever completed. It found that there are 3 trillion trees on Earth, which is seven times higher than the number previously estimated. However, they also found that we are destroying far more trees than we are replacing. According to the study, for every 5 billion trees planted, 15 billion are cut down. The study also found that, there are half the amount of trees on earth than there were before human civilization.

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Why are trees so important?

Trees provide us with shelter, shade and most importantly, oxygen, but the diminishing number of trees can have serious effects on all aspects of the environment. Here are just a few of the ways the destruction of trees affects the earth and the environment:

  • Climate Change – A single tree will absorb as much as a ton of carbon dioxide by the time it is 40 years old. The destruction of trees means more carbon dioxide in the air, which will speed up the climate change.
  • Species Extinction – 70 percent of the world’s animals and plants stand to lose their habitats due to deforestation, which can lead to species extinction.
  • Soil Erosion – Without trees there to anchor the soil, it is much more likely to wash away or erode.

What can you do about it?

Adjusting the way you use and dispose of paper may not make up for the billions of trees lost every year, but it’s certainly a start. You likely use paper for many things in your life, but toilet paper doesn’t get recycled, and it’s, therefore, one of the most common kinds of paper found in landfills. Stay tuned for our Belleville plumber’s next blog to learn what you can do to reduce the amount of toilet paper you use in your home.