February 2, 2020
Greenwashing is a term that has come about in the last 10 years to describe overly exaggerated claims about environmental issues which lead to false beliefs. I'm very much all for ecological protection, new solar and hydrogen power initiatives, etc however the usage of trees to make paper often comes under inaccurate scrutiny. When we consume paper and other wood products, forestry companies plant more trees. The cycle of utilizing trees (such as for paper) is not a unilateral process but a perpetual cycle. The amount planted typically exceeds what is harvested in the US.
Because of a continued increase in demand over the years, along with responsible forestry methods, the amount of US land covered by treed forests has grown by approximately 10 million acres in the last 10 years alone. But what about before those 10 years? If we look back four decades, forests have grown in area by almost 25%!
The case for using paper products and not listening to false "go-green" statements gets even better when you compare it to modern-day electronics recycling. About 60% of all paper products are recycled and reused nationally while only 20% of unwanted electronics get recycled. How good is this for the environment?
Other solid non-profits such as the Forest Stewardship Council help to protect against the profiteering of de-forestation in other countries which do not inherently have their own oversite groups. This is very much necessary as their removal of trees is oftentimes not done in an ethical manner, using forced labor, not replanting, or removing protected tree species.
So as with many social media hyped news releases in the modern world, don't always believe what you hear about paper usage. When big business wants you to "get a digital statement to save the planet" it is typically motivated by them saving money by not having to mail you one... think about it!