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  • Raj Kumar

Envisioning the Future of Paper Consumption in the Next 30 Years

The predominancy and intricacy of Paper consumption in the last 5 years have immensely revolutionized the lives and livelihoods in our global community, leading to better leisure activities, apprentice goods and educational products, enabling enriched livability and pleasure for mankind. However, the root of these products hinges on a valuable sacrifice which leads to repercussions often assumed to embark on our global community in various ways. Paper consumption, as a double-edged sword, serves social beings in many ways but also leads to consequences redeemed by the environment.



Elucidating its Importance:

The presence of green trees is a good indicator of human wellness. Forests substantially act as carbon sinks and serve as a source of various fauna, flora, and valuable medicinal drugs that are exquisitely accessible in nature in forests while enabling species on land to breathe liberally. Reducing paper consumption is assumed to be crucial as trees are cut down for paper production, leading to increased deforestation, climate change, loss of biodiversity, flooding and other reluctant consequences that are detrimental to mankind.


More than 15 billion trees are lost annually due to deforestation.

One could assume this as having donated 3000 toilet paper rolls to each person on earth by cutting down 15 billion trees whereas over 42 million trees are cut down daily. As of 2020, the UN estimates the planet is losing over 7,000,000 hectares per year to deforestation. Between 1990 and 2015, the world lost 129 million hectares of forest – an area about the size of South Africa.


Hence, the long and short of it is, we need to work towards implementing sustainable practices for paper consumption and sustainable solutions to achieve global goals.


Deforestation as a thoughtful caution:


There has been a considerable decline in the rate of paper consumption due to the overwhelming demand for electronic technology, the rate of paper consumption is increased past 3 years. Technological devices have culminated to replace paper and its products to an assumable extent but people are more likely to consume paper even in the technological advancement. Paper usage for writing articles, blogs, reports, research, written bank and policy statements and other writing material is reduced through online writing and publishing platforms on one hand while many gained access to diverse virtual platforms to order assets which are packaged in industries in paper cartons and fibres, alongside customer invoices resulting in increased paper consumption than conventional means of transferring materials.


As Global Citizens, we are responsible for protecting and prospering our planet earth and empowering and inducing sustainable solutions towards building a better future for upcoming generations.


The global consumption of paper and paperboard totaled 408 million tons in 2021. Consumption is projected to continue rising over the coming decade to reach 476 million tons by 2032. By Statista.com

Providing a reckoning estimate of our progress towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGS), Given statistics elucidate the importance of saving papers and working towards a sustainable future. Therefore, all of us must partake in this vulnerable act to pay back what we have gained from this world.


Initiatives to promote sustainable paper production:

In today’s era, Paper production aligns subtly with sustainable consumption and production for livelihoods on Earth. As about 30,000,000 trees are cut down to produce textbooks, taking a minute and robust initiatives can positively impact lives around us. Below are a few ways in which we can remarkably leverage opportunities to build a sustainable future by taking simple and efficient initiatives:


  • The Three R’s: The three R’s named Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle empower social beings to attain sustainable paper production and consumption.

  1. Reduction: Reducing unnecessary paper consumption during times when we often don’t require them is a small initiative that catalyzes an immense contribution towards implementing sustainability in our global community. Wastage of paper, napkins, towels, cartons and other paper materials should be withstood by avoiding printing extra handouts, using paper products when necessary, duplicating handouts by using both sides of the paper, collecting scraps of construction paper, fabric, wood, and other items to use for projects and implementing other initiatives towards paper reduction.

  2. Reuse: Reusing paper enables us to economize and protects our environment. Utilizing reusable paper products such as Paper cartons, napkins, towels, clothes, bamboo towels and sub-products, etc, is a novel instance of reusing paper in daily life.

  3. Recycle: Recycling materials throughout a lifetime economizes and saves the environment towards building livable consumption and production and generating innovation while practising it. Recycling Paper products in projects and DIY activities that promote craftsmanship are assumed to reduce the amount of paper consumption, ultimately decreasing paper production.



  • Raising awareness: Raising awareness in society, as a crucial aspect, serves to promote education about paper consumption which intervenes in youth implementing sustainable practices. Under one’s feasibility, one should take the initiative to conduct workshops, seminars, and awareness campaigns and collaborate with organizations aimed towards practising sustainable forestry.

  • Paperless billing and documentation: We should aim towards encouraging businesses and individuals to opt for paperless billing and digital documents which saves paper and reduces transportation-related carbon emissions associated with physical mail delivery.

  • Optimizing Paper Usage: Optimizing efficient paper use by changing the default printer settings to double-sided printing, using smaller font sizes, and reducing margins which can reduce overall consumption and waste.

  • Reforestation Efforts: Supporting reforestation initiatives to restore and protect forests will replace the number of trees cut down each year to a certain extent, enabling to lead a prosperous and green future for all.



Works Cited

(1996). Paper - a future or not? Challenges in that future. The Commonwealth Forestry Review, 75(2), 160-163. https://doi.org/42608286


Crowther, T., Glick, H., Covey, K., & al, e. (2015, September 2). Mapping tree density at a global scale. Nature(525), 201-205.


United Nations Environment Programme. (2020, 11 1). UN Environment. Retrieved from


Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (2016). Global Forests Resource Assessment 2015. Rome: The United Nations. Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4793e.pdf


Planet Blue. (2020). PROMOTE ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS. Retrieved from Planet Blue, University of Michigan: http://sustainability.umich.edu/environ211/reduce-textbook-waste/promote-environmental-benefits

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