Green Revolution: Why You Should Go Paperless

Go Paperless and join the Green Revolution

Paper may seem harmless, but in reality, it causes severe environmental damage and has far reaching effects. It has become more important than ever for businesses to go paperless.
The pulp and paper industry is the third largest industrial polluter to air, water, and land. With this in mind, Canada and the United States are the world’s largest producers of paper and pulp products.

If we don’t smarten up soon our window of opportunity may quickly shut.

What’s the Damage?

 

 

Source Process

Right from the start, the paper and pulp industry causes severe damage to the environment, including our air, water, and soil.  As you probably know, the paper comes from trees— in fact, 35% of all harvested trees, and 40% of all industrial wood is used for paper manufacturing. The United States alone cuts down more than 68 million trees each year, just for the production of pulp and paper products. These numbers are staggering when you consider the immense importance trees have in regulating our planet’s health. Since trees absorb CO2 and release oxygen, they mitigate the harmful effects of greenhouse gas. Moreover, a single 100-year-old tree can only produce 17 reams of paper, but when it’s cut down it will release 110 lbs of CO2 into the atmosphere. As such, this deforestation directly increases climate change. Not only does the removal of trees speed up the global warming process, but it also makes it more severe. Deforestation accounts for more global carbon emissions than trucks and cars combined. With this in mind, there is a strong link between high levels of atmospheric gas, and increased deaths and respiratory illnesses.

The removal of trees also severely damages the quality of our soil. Through transpiration, trees control the level of water in our atmosphere and directly help regulate the water cycle. When there are fewer trees, there’s less water! Through this, our soils become drier, negatively affecting its ability to sustain life— for both plants, and organisms. Moreover, soil and smaller plants use trees for shade. When they are removed, more UV rays are able to penetrate the ground, further drying out the soil. The removal of trees also increases surface runoff, which causes soil erosion. As such, our soil can become barren, further harming our environment.
Deforestation also threatens our planet’s biodiversity and contributes to species endangerment. Approximately 80% of the world’s land animals and plants live in forests. The removal of trees also means the destruction of their habitats and the introduction of pesticides into their ecosystem. In fact, upwards of 30 million acres of forest are lost each year. Moreover, trees help regulate a forest’s internal temperature through their canopy. The removal of the canopy fluctuates internal temperatures, which is extremely harmful to both plants and animals.

Removing trees also negatively affects neighboring and indigenous communities. More than 1.5 billion people rely on forests for the necessities, such as food, water, clothing, and shelter. Taking away their important resources causes social conflict, and threatens their livelihood.

Manufacture Process

The production of paper in of itself is also extremely harmful to the environment, neighboring communities and even their own employees. Each year, the world manufactures more than 300 million tons of paper, with 1 million tons of paper used each day. Unfortunately, paper mills emit significant levels of pollution. They release upwards of 220 million lbs of toxins each year, which affects our air, water, and soil. A measly 1 ton of paper creates 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide. This pollution has adverse effects on neighboring communities, and nearby ecosystems. They are also the largest industrial consumer of water, as the pulp and paper industry uses more water to produce 1 ton of product than any other industry. To better put this in perspective, 1.5 cups of water are needed to make one single sheet of paper, and approximately 300,000 litres are needed for 1 ton. Moreover, they are the second largest consumer of energy. To produce one ton of paper, 253 gallons of petrol are used. The production of secondary and supporting products are also incredibly harmful. For example, the production of ink relies on fossil fuels and harmful chemicals.

Even their own workers are not spared from the negative effects of paper production, as paper mill employees are subject to poor working conditions. In order to reduce wood pulp and bleach paper, employees are exposed to a toxic cocktail of chemicals. As such, they have an increased risk for dangerous health problems, like malignant lymphomas.
With all this in mind, by 2020 paper mills are expected to produce 500,000,000 tons of paper products annually.

Disposal Process

Let’s be honest, most of us do not recycle every single sheet of paper that we come in contact with— and even if we did, paper cannot be recycled indefinitely. Of the total waste in the United States of America, a staggering 40% is paper products. To hit home a bit more, 45% of paper printed in offices is thrown out by the end of the day. Unsurprisingly, 50% of the waste businesses create is paper. Even the supporting products are wasteful, as 400 million ink and 100 million toner cartridges end up in landfills each year. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, at the end of its destructive life, paper either rots or is burned. The burning of paper emits CO2, while the rotting releases methane gas— a gas that is 25 times more toxic than CO2.

Through its entire lifecycle paper causes significant, and sometimes irreparable, damage.  

Want to Help? Go Paperless

 

 

Benefits

The only way to protect the environment from paper waste is to go paperless. In a paperless world, each year the average worker can save:

  • 938 gallons of water
  • 2.5 trees
  • 56 gallons of oil
  • 595 KW (kilowatts of energy)
  • 12.15 cubic feet of landfill space

Greenhouse gas emissions would also decrease by 3.9 billion lbs annually— which is equivalent to removing 355,000 cars from the road! These benefits aren’t just environmental. By going paperless, your organization can save a ton of money! In fact, a company with only 8 employees can save $10,000 a year just by ditching paper. You would also save on ink and toner costs, which add up to $3,230 and $5,600 respectively. Even more so, businesses lose 15% of their important documents, which costs around $120 in labour to find, and $220 to finally replace. Your annual cost benefit can be upwards of $20,000!
Want to learn more about how you can go paperless? Check our blogs on 5 ways to create a paperless business or 11 resources to check to a paperless office!

eSignatures

One of the best ways to help is to simply switch to electronic and digital signatures. This simple step really has a huge positive impact, just think of how many times a day you rely on paper documents! Companies, like Signority, help you automate and digitize your document signing process with their electronic signature solutions. This leaves you with a lot less paper, and extra time to do more important things— like save time on costly internal operations and the planet!
We need to reduce, not recycle. The paper industry is out-dated, unnecessary, and extremely harmful. If we don’t change our ways soon and go paperless, we may lose our chance. If you don’t believe me, just click here to see how much paper we have produced this year alone.
Join the revolution go paperless!

Switch to digital, and switch to a more environmentally friendly business…  one small step for the office, one huge step for mankind!
Feel free to share this post with your colleagues and friends, but please try and fight the urge to print it!

 

Want to help save the planet? Sign-up now and get a 14-day free trial to a Signority eSignature Plan!

Part 1: The Top 5 Most Promising Industries and Jobs for Recent Graduates

The best industries and jobs for recent graduates

Do you hate that dreaded question at family get-togethers… “So, any plans after graduation?”
Do you wish you had the perfect answer to shut pompous Uncle Mike down?
Well, as a recent grad myself, I decided enough was enough. So, I rolled up my sleeves and began hunting for fresh new industries that would welcome recent grads with open arms!

Our List of Up and Coming Industries and Jobs for Recent Graduates

  1. Virtual Reality

All this talk about finding a job after graduation must just be a virtual reality – but I swear, it’s real! In fact, the virtual reality industry is expected to have a global market size of $1.7 billion this year (that’s an increase of over $1 billion!), and a revenue of $4.6 billion. This growth is expected to increase, with an expected global market size of $24.5 billion in 2020, and $80 billion by 2025 (the size of today’s desktop PC market!). Unsurprisingly, customers can’t get enough of virtual reality. The total number of active users is predicted to reach 90 million by this year, and 171 million by 2018.

  1. Health & Wellness

Today’s consumers are undoubtedly increasingly concerned over their health and overall wellness, as global industry sales are expected to amount to $1 trillion in 2017. This societal shift is present within all ages, from young to old, and it doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. In fact, the number of adults aged 60 is expected to double by 2050, which will increase their need for health and wellness products. Now for all the Canadian graduates, there has been strong growth in the Canadian health product sector, with an annual growth rate of 15% and economic contribution of $3.5 billion (and growing!). Looks like a promising industry, eh?
As a matter of fact, the #1 company on Fortune 100’s list of “fastest growing companies” is Natural Health Trends, a health and wellness company (surprised?). Just last year their revenue was $298 million, with a total return three-year annual growth rate of 211%.

  1. Drones

The drone industry is expected to explode in the next few years, with a predicted value of over $127 billion by 2020, and a compound annual growth rate of 17%. Drones are extremely multifaceted and diversifiable, and as such, can be used for just about anything (ie. they have huge potential!). For example, Air Shepherd has taken advantage of the many uses drones have and is using them to find wildlife poachers, in order to protect wild rhinos and elephants. Ben Marcus, CEO of AirMap, predicts there will be a 400% increase in drone usage over this year.
Drone companies even made their way onto Fortune 100’s list of fastest growing companies, with Ambarella making the top 10. Ambarella develops video compression and image processing solutions, which are crucial components of many drone cameras. Their total revenue for the past year was a jaw-dropping $303 million, with their shares increasing by 67% in the past 3 months.

  1. Marijuana

The marijuana business is definitely “smoking” hot. With over half of America’s 50 states legalizing marijuana, and Canada currently in the process of legalization, it is no surprise that legal marijuana sales will total a whopping $22.8 billion in 2020.
The pharmaceutical company INSYS therapeutics was also on Fortune 100’s list of fastest growing companies, placing in their top 5. They develop pharmaceutical cannabinoids to address the clinical shortcomings of existing commercial products. Their revenue last year alone totalled to $323 million dollars, with an earnings-per-share, three-year annual growth rate of 119%.

  1. FinTech

The FinTech industry has been taking the financial industry by storm, and there’s no sign of stopping. FinTech companies are better able to meet changing customer needs, by offering convenient, simple and online integrated services. By the year 2020, the global marketplace lending is expected to be valued at $500 billion. Moreover, by the year 2030, there will be a projected 2 billion new customers using their phone for financial services, with over 60% switching to mobile over the next five years. As such, they are leveraging traditional companies limitations and succeeding in areas where they are failing. Additionally, the number of new FinTech start-ups has created a landscape of innovation and competition, driving continued success.
Now you’ll always have an answer to that annoyingly tired question!
Show Uncle Mike exactly what you’re made of, and start focusing your efforts in industries with the most payoff.
Check out Part 2, where I segment different areas of promise within each industry, explain how you can get involved, and some awesome examples to get you started!
Interested in learning from the Pros? Check out our recent article on business experts you should look out for.   
Looking to take your business paperless? Sign-up now and get a 14-day free trial to a Signority eSignature Plan.