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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Ecofriendly Economics, Harsh Facts & May's Animal

Harsh Facts of the Week

The average American uses about the equivalent of one Douglas fir tree 100 feet tall in paper and wood products each year.

More than 2 billion books, 350 million magazines, and 24 billion newspapers are published annually.

A typical United States office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper each year, which equates to four million tons of paper used annually.

Approximately 2.6 billion holiday cards are sold yearly in America. Collectively, they could fill a football field ten stories high.

In 2008, paper and paperboard made up 31% of municipal waste, compared to 12% for plastics.

How much paper do you use? Would you consider yourself wasteful?
Most importantly: how can you reduce your paper usage? Read today’s Ecofriendly Economics to get some tips.


Presenting: May's Animal of the Month!

At the special request of my boyfriend, this May’s Animal of the Month is the golden lion tamarin, also known as the golden marmoset. This adorable, bright orange species of monkey lives in the Atlantic coastal forests of Brazil. 

Tamarins live in groups typically consisting of two to eight individuals, and like most monkeys, they have a very complex social structure. They are usually active for twelve hours daily, and golden lion tamarin groups sleep in different dens every night to avoid predators. They eat fruits, flowers, nectar, bird eggs, insects, and small invertebrates, making them omnivores.

There are about 1,000 wild individuals remaining and about 490 captive individuals spread across 150 zoos worldwide. Golden lion tamarin populations are endangered by illegal logging, poaching, mining, urbanization, infrastructure development, and invasive species. Over time, the tamarins have lost all but 2-5% of their original habitat in Brazil. In 1969, it was estimated that there were less than 150 individuals in the Atlantic Forest. The IUCN listed tamarins as endangered in 1982. Their status rose to critically endangered in 1996, and returned to endangered in 2003 after the establishment of a new population in the UniĆ£o Biological Reserve.

Save the Golden Lion Tamarin and The Golden Lion Tamarin Association are organizations currently working to preserve and increase the remaining tamarin populations.

Ecofriendly Economics
To go along with today's harsh facts, I give you a special edition of Ecofriendly Economics that will offer you thirteen ways to reduce your paper usage. 

Simple Tips to Reduce your Paper Usage

1. Are you still receiving your bills through the mail? Most companies offer paperless, online options now. Not only do you save paper, but your payment goes through quicker. Call or look on your billing company’s website to find out how to make the switch. If you find out your company is still living in the dark ages, speak up, and tell them the importance of offering a paperless option.

2. Use both sides of the paper, whether you’re writing on it or printing it. When your child asks for more paper to draw on, ask if they used the back sides first, and tell them why it’s important to use both sides.

3. Do you receive a lot of junk mail? Many companies have easy ways for you to contact them, whether by phone or internet, and you can ask to unsubscribe from their mailing list.

4. Don’t use a bigger sheet of paper than you need. A half or quarter page is often sufficient for shopping lists, reminders, notes, and recipes. Tuck the remaining part of the page away and come back to it when you need to make another small list. Better yet, digitalize your recipes by organizing them in a folder on your computer, and write your shopping lists down in your handheld electronic devices. Consider getting a whiteboard or corkboard for notes and reminders.

5. Be scarce with your magazine and newspaper subscriptions. Check and see if your favorite news sources have online versions before subscribing to paper.

6. Think before you print. Do you really need a paper copy? Use a USB port (also known as “thumb drive,” “flash drive,” “computer-sticky-thing,” etc.) to transfer documents and information from computer to computer, rather than printing it. 

7. Say you have a twenty page document, and you only need three pages of it. Don’t print the whole thing to access those three pages! It’s very easy to select specific pages in the print menu.
Proofread carefully before printing, so you don’t end up with a messy typo that you have to fix and then reprint. 

8. Adjust your print margins so you can fit more on a page. Unless if it’s necessary for an assignment, use single spacing over double spacing.

0. Use email in replacement of paper mail when you can. Ditch the rolodex and transfer your contacts to your computer, phone, and various devices (storing your information electronically in more than one place is always smart). If you have business cards, do not provide an address- this will force people to contact you via phone or email.

10. Use cloth napkins and rags instead of paper napkins and paper towels. Substitute tissues for handkerchiefs (cut up an old t-shirt to make some. That way you can recycle a t-shirt too).

11. Ban paper/plastic cutlery and china from your home. Suck it up and wash the dishes.

12. Consider replacing your party invitations and holiday cards with texts, emails, and e-cards. Encourage the older members of your family who may not have an email to get one, and help them learn how to use it. 

13. When you do use paper, recycle it when you're done. Recycle, recycle, recycle. 

Do you have more ways to reduce paper usage than the ones I listed? Please, provide more methods in the comments below.

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