Highlands and Islands Greens
Highlands and Islands Greens

Want To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint?  Use Less Paper!

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Greens in Highland have pledged to get that message across, following a talk in Fortrose on Saturday by Assynt-based author Mandy Haggith.

Mandy’s book Paper Trails (1) describes in detail just what a profound effect the paper industry worldwide is having on our environment.

Mandy said: “We all use paper every day, but we tend to take it for granted and don’t stop to think where it came from.  Paper has a huge diversity of useful purposes, from the documents we depend upon for our very identify, like birth certificates and passports, to literary works and schoolbooks.  Ten pound notes are quite handy too!  Unfortunately paper is also wasted in vast quantities as junk mail, excess packaging, unread magazines, glossy advertising and pointless photocopying and this waste has enormous environmental and social consequences.  Using less paper is vital, not just to save trees, but also to limit climate change, pollution, water use and human rights abuses.  Cutting paper waste saves money too — it’s a real win-win, with environmental, ethical and economic benefits.  In 2006 I travelled overland all the way to Indonesia to find out what impacts our paper consumption has on other parts of the world.  My book Paper Trails was the result of that journey and I hope I can inspire others to try to reduce their paper footprints on the planet.”

Green Party spokesperson Eleanor Scott said: “Mandy’s talk was fascinating and horrifying.  Who would believe that using one new sheet of A4 paper is equivalent to leaving the light on for an hour!  From the felling of trees to make our paper, to the disposal of that paper after we’ve finished with it, there’s a huge impact worldwide from this industry that we all take for granted.

“Fortunately there’s a lot we can all do to reduce our own paper footprint, from avoiding printing out emails to using cloths instead of paper towels.

“We can also all sign up to the European Environmental Paper Network’s website and find ways to reduce our paper use and benefit the planet — if we all signed up to their ‘Shrink’ campaign (2) it would make a real difference.”


(1) Paper Trails: From Trees to Trash — the True Cost of Paper, Published by Virgin Books/Random House (www.virginbooks.com), ISBN: 978-0-7535-1328-3, available from all good bookshops or paper-free as an e-book.

(2) www.shrinkpaper.org