Who depends on print and paper more than anyone else this time of year? Why, Santa, of course. The handwritten letter is still the method of choice for sending Christmas wish lists to the man in red. According to the U.S. Postal Service, millions of letters addressed to “Santa Claus, North Pole” arrive at Post Offices across the country each December … more than a half million in New York City alone! Santa’s helpers, through programs like the USPS’s 100-year-old Letters to Santa program, respond to many of these letters, making holiday wishes come true for needy children.
The time-honored tradition of putting ink on paper, sealing the envelope and dropping a letter to Santa in the mail is one of those very personal, very tactile experiences that’s impossible to capture with an email. It’s also a very sustainable way to communicate with the North Pole’s most celebrated resident. In fact, we have it on good authority that Santa, a fellow known for keeping lists, uses the following “Top 10” to remind people that print on paper is a sound environmental choice.
Santa’s Top 10 Facts on Print and Paper Sustainability
- Paper is made from renewable resources [trees grown in responsibly managed forests], and responsibly produced and used paper has many advantages over other, nonrenewable alternative materials. (World Wildlife Fund)
- In the United States, paper is recycled more than plastics, metals and glass. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
- Nearly 67% of paper produced in the United States in 2011 was recovered for recycling. (American Forest & Paper Association)
- Most of the wood used to make U.S. paper, about 60%, comes from small, family-owned tree farms. (Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.)
- The demand for sustainable paper products provides a strong financial incentive for landowners to manage their land responsibly rather than sell it off for development –the primary cause of U.S. forest loss. (World Business Council for Sustainable Development and NCASI)
- U.S. papermaking does not cause deforestation. The amount of U.S. forestland has remained the same for the last 100 years at around 750 million acres. (U.S. Forest Service)
- More U.S. trees are grown – through planting and natural regeneration – than are harvested each year. (U.S. Forest Service)
- About 65% of the energy used to manufacture U.S. paper is generated using renewable, carbon-neutral biomass. (American Forest & Paper Association)
- Because forest products [including paper] can require little or no fossil fuels for production and store carbon throughout their useful life, they can have inherent climate change advantages over all other materials with which they compete, provided they are produced in a sustainable manner. (World Resources Institute)
- The U.S. forest products and paper industry directly supports 870,000 U.S. jobs. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
For more facts on the sustainability of print and paper, visit the Myths and Facts section of the Two Sides website at www.twosides.us
Kathi Rowzie is a Two Sides guest blogger and a sustainability communications consultant with The Gagliardi Group in Memphis, Tennessee.