The Chinese first created paper in 105 AD using grass, hemp or rags. This relatively simple process that was also sustainable went a long way in making paper until the Industrial Revolution – where machines started to be used to meet the ever-rising demands. This eventually led to an environmental crisis – where the paper and pulp industry caused severe damage to air, water and soil by cutting down trees. Moreover, a single 100-year-old tree can only produce 17 reams of paper, but when it’s cut down it will release 110 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere. As such, this deforestation directly affects climate change.
Deforestation, also called forest degradation, is the cutting down of trees and forests to expand urban areas and housing developments, building new transport routes and to make paper. This relentless cutting down of trees without thinking of the aftermath is a big threat to the ecosystems around the world. According to statistics:
- About half of the forests that once covered the earth are gone.
- 31% of the earth’s surface is covered by forests, approximately 4.06 billion hectares and only 18% is protected from deforestation.
- 2,400 trees are cut down each minute.
- Every second, a forest the size of a football field is cut down.
- By 2030, there may be only 10% of the world’s rainforests left and at the current rate, all rainforests will be gone in 77 years.
- From 2001 to 2021, the United Kingdom lost 507kha of tree cover, equivalent to a 14% decrease in tree cover since 2000.
In this digital era, we interact with paper all the time through receipts, tickets, tissues, newspapers, books and so on. Around 14% of deforestation is performed to satisfy our huge appetite for paper goods. It is high time that we as individuals try to reduce paper use which in turn will reduce the number of trees being cut down. Small steps like refusing unnecessary packaging, leaflets or paper tickets would collectively make a big change.
Ditching paper receipts for digital receipts can have a massive positive impact. To make paper receipts, almost 10 million trees are cut down, one billion gallons of water are used and 1.5 billion pounds of waste is generated. Therefore going paperless is great for the forest, but it is also beneficial for the business – with easily organized documents, secured data, better service and it even saves money.
Our biodiversity depends on forests, so it is necessary to offset deforestation in a meaningful way. As we are becoming aware of how our daily actions affect the environment, we need to work on saving our natural resources. The mindless cutting down of trees for paper receipts that would eventually end up in bins needs to be stopped. So take a step and switch to digital through ReceiptsMinder, and to a more environmentally friendly business.