How to cut your paper footprint

Filed in Waste News by on July 10, 2008 7 Comments
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paper mountain
Vicki Hill, The Independent, Thursday, 10 July 2008
Amazing! I think this woman is doing a fantastic job of highlighting and ‘making real’ the amount of paper we get through during a year. A very inspiring story and one that I hope will bring about significant change to the people who visit her display.

Some of the statistics at the end of the article are shocking; such as the amount of people who do not read their junk mail (although the advertisers still think it is worth sending us all this stuff)

Be sure to read our articles on reducing junk mail and stopping BT telephone books and Yellow Pages. Check back soon as we’re launching an exciting competition with the wonderful ‘Stop Junk Mail’ website.

First came two great bales of flattened cardboard then a tower of 1,500 catalogues, magazines, reports and printouts, topped off with a tumble of 120 toilet rolls, two bin bags full of junk mail and a thick layer of brown paper bags. Finally, Mandy Haggith tipped hundreds of receipts and bus tickets over the 5ft heap. Then she stood back and waited.

Villagers trickled into the hall one by one, smiles at the spectacle quickly fading as they realised that Mandy’s mountain represented the 250kg of paper they, personally, had thrown away over the last year. Much of it barely used, most of it made by sending an ancient tree from the most threatened areas of the world crashing to the forest floor. Read more

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About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (7)

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  1. Loo roll inners are ace for starting carrots off in…

  2. Mandy Aggith is very ispirational with this. It’s amazing the impact when people can see it for themselves. ;-D

  3. I can imagine, actually seeing it all stacked up is going to be scarily enlightening.

  4. I know what you mean Sarah – it does make me wonder about how much paper our family gets through in a year. When I started reducing our waste I consciously reduced kitchen roll and now get perhaps a couple a month rather than three\four a week!

  5. One of the first things I did when looking at our waste was abandon kitchen roll and start using tea towels instead. I’m washing regularly anyway so a tea towel extra each day is no problem. I also use proper dishcloths instead of those throw away sponges – and I have a friend who knits and crochets them too.

    I put us on the junk mail preference list thingy and we get loads less now – and the kids know to put everything into the paper recycling bag!

  6. Thanks for this post. The last stat about junk mail is shocking indeed (‘Advertisers know that 99.7 per cent of recipients of junk mail throw it away unread’). It’s absolute madness, but then I am of course very biased…

    What the Independent article doesn’t mention is that stop reading newspapers is a good way of reducing paper. In fact, not reading newspapers can have all sorts of positive effects; it gives you time to read more books or to study, for instance. Worth a try!

  7. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Robert,

    I’m so glad you found time to visit the site and leave a comment. That last statistic got me too.

    I agree about the papers – having a news fast is a perfect way to relieve stress levels, I’m sure of it! Our neighbour passes on the local newspaper to us, but I only skim through that to see what is happening in the world of recycling.

    We haven’t had national newspapers for years here – they are so full of ‘bad news’ that it really gets me down. Plus, if you really want to indulge, you can catch it on the internet…..

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