April 22, 2013
For a long time, I have been looking for a way to dispel the fallacy called: “Going Green.” I see the phrase on my bills in the mail. “Save a Tree” the envelope urges- pay your bills electronically. Then I stumbled across a page in a recent catalog from Saturn Press. Their explanation sums up the debate very eloquently. In honor of Earth Day, I am happy to share their well stated message* called:
Paper versus Electronics
“Paper is the most recycled product on the planet. Nine times more paper is recycled than plastic,three times more than glass, and twice as much as metal.” Next time you contemplate “Going Green” and opting for that online bill pay or an email delivery, pause and consider the following…
Your cellphone and computer are made from plastic, precious metals, and rare earth minerals. These devices are not recyclable and when discarded, they leech toxic waste into the landfill and water table. Paper is biodegradable, recyclable and poses no threat to the environment. Managed forests exist for the sole purpose of providing paper. New electronic devices continuously deplete the scarce earth resources, while the fibers that make paper are reproduced by carbon absorbing, oxygen generating plants: the trees.
Also give a thought to- how your electronic messages are exchanged. Vast data centers , warehouses of server computers require huge amounts of electricity for their cooling and computing. “The largest consume as much electricity as aluminum smelters.”
As the gadgets quickly become obsolete, they further stress the landfill, and “their memories are not archival. Electronic memory mediums begin to degrade within weeks of creation, and the devices that read these media rarely last more than a few decades. Reel to reel magnetic tape, 8 track tape, cassette tape, floppy disc, compact disc…?’ What has longevity?
The essay ends with: “We’ll instead put our money on the Magna Carta. Ink put on paper in the year 1215.”
Author’s note: I agree. Pen on paper has lasting quality and is kindest to the Earth. Where will you put your money? Think about it.
* Many thanks to Saturn Press for the above paraphrased material.
For more information about paper and managed forests, check out http://www.paperbecause.com