How often have we all bemoaned the number of killed trees it must have
taken to put together a massive report? Where I work, we often comment that
the amount of paper required to document the Quality Control inspections on
our product weighs more than the product itself – and we’re talking about a
1-ton object here!
Why not hang some facts onto these idle speculations? The following
information is from
Conservatree, a project of The Tides Center.
One ton of uncoated virgin (non-recycled) office copier paper uses 24
trees. This is the weight of a "pallet" of copier paper (20-lb. sheet weight),
made up of 40 cartons. Each carton contains 10 reams of paper, with a ream
equaling 500 sheets. Therefore, each ream of paper uses 6% of a tree. One tree
makes 16.67 reams or 8,333 sheets.
In this calculation, a "typical tree" is considered to be 40 feet tall and
6-8 inches in diameter (hardwood and/or softwood, as the paper type requires).
The kraft chemical (freesheet) pulping process is the assumed technology used
for making the paper.
1 ton of 100% virgin (non-recycled) newsprint uses 12 trees (made by the
1 ton of coated, higher-end virgin magazine paper (used for magazines like
National Geographic and many others) uses a little more than 15 trees.
1 ton of coated, lower-end virgin magazine paper (used for newsmagazines
and most catalogs) uses nearly 8 trees.
To calculate how many trees are saved by using recycled paper:
Multiply the number of trees needed to make a ton of the kind of paper
you're talking about (groundwood or freesheet), then
Multiply by the percent recycled content in the paper.
1 ton (40 cartons) of 30% postconsumer content copier paper saves 7.2
1 ton of 50% postconsumer content copier paper saves 12 trees.
Let me end with these facts, from
- U.S. pulp mills consume 12,430 square miles of forests around the world
- Each American on average consumes more than 730 pounds of paper each
- Americans use approximately 31.5 million tons of printing and writing
papers each year, an amount requiring over 535 million trees and more than
12 billion gallons of oil to produce.
- In the United States, more than 90 percent of the printing and writing
paper comes from virgin tree fiber.
- Nearly half the trees cut in North America are used for papermaking.