Unexpected Benefits of the Pandemic

Personal Revelation – Diminished Use of Printer Paper

The shift to working from home has been one of the most significant changes brought about by the pandemic. As I reflect on my time working remotely, I’m struck by how my work habits and work style have shifted to accommodate my new surroundings. 

The most striking change for me has been my personal use of printer paper. It’s not that I threw caution to the wind when I printed in the office, but I did tend to print documents that I needed to review/check for accuracy; for me, it was just more efficient.  Also, as fellow “those who printed in the office” people can attest, in-office printing was speedy, plus there was the added benefit of knowing that secure recycling and shredding was within reach.    

Over time, I’ve learned to adjust my habits in many ways. First and foremost, I’m happy to say, printing for me is a rarity now.   

As I quietly gave myself a high-five, I became curious as to how I could quantify my social contribution to the conservation of trees. 

Fun fact: An average tree, designated as a “paper tree”, can produce approximately 16 reams of paper. [1] There are many calculations available, but most tend to cluster around this figure. 

Based on my estimation, if individual usage equated to 1 ream of paper per month, 2.5 trees have been spared for just one person since the start of the pandemic (~40 months). Once I started doing the math across the board, the realization of what this means to the environment was staggering. 

Quantifying the number of trees spared is one variable, but I became curious to uncover more about the paper making process itself. 

In addition to the trees, inputs into producing paper include water, clay, chemicals, power and other natural resources.[2]

So, the next time you have an urge to print something, you might want to reconsider. I know I do! 

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