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New Climate for Action: Paper Usage

2008 October 14

About the author: Ashley Sims, a senior at Indiana University, is a fall intern with EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection and Environmental Education through the Washington Leadership Program.

Think about all the paper we use for school. We constantly take notes during class, use paper for homework assignments, tests, and print sheets related to school work. There’s no way to get around it. Or is there? We need paper on a daily basis since school has to be our number one priority. So how can we be environmentally conscious while making sure we keep up with our daily obligations to school?

Here is a suggestion. Why not use paper to its fullest potential to minimize waste? The process of making, distributing, and using paper releases greenhouse gas emissions into our environment. At EPA we promote Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! Reducing the amount of paper we use, as well as reusing and recycling paper can help address global climate change. Reducing paper usage decreases waste and its associated costs. Reusing paper can stop or delay its entry into the waste stream. Recycling turns paper that would otherwise become waste into valuable resources. So why not get involved and help save our environment. Our small efforts to reduce the amount of paper we use can truly make a huge impact on our planet.

Here are some helpful tips to try for school:
-Always print double-sided and write on both sides of paper
-Cut up old blank paper for notes instead of buying new notepads or sticky-notes
-Use old comics from the newspaper to wrap presents or textbooks for school
-Donate old books to a used-book store or secondhand shop
-Recycle old books, magazines and papers
-Buy recycled paper products such as notebooks, computer paper, cards, etc whenever possible

Please tell us how you conserve paper while completing your homework assignments. If you haven’t tried any of the above suggestions, still let us know what you think. I can’t wait to hear your ideas about how we can conserve paper and get good grades too! Your small changes can make a big difference.

For more information about waste please visit

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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2 Responses leave one →
  1. shredding Dallas permalink
    August 6, 2010

    Your ideas are indeed helpful. We may not go about our daily activities without having to use papers, but we can do something to at least maximize their usage and be practical about it. Paper is always present in schools, homes and offices and they are an integral part of our lives and so we need to look for ways to properly make use of it. One thing that we can also do is to have a company assist us in properly disposing our paper waste. Even shredded paper has its uses so we can really maximize its use. We just need to integrate it our daily activities and be serious about being practical.

  2. shredding Dallas permalink
    September 16, 2010

    In our own little ways, we can also do our part by being practical at home and work and try not to waste materials that much. With used paper, we can either have them shredded for other purposes or use them for crafts.

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