If feels like we live in a digital-centric world these days. Everywhere you go, you see people with eyes cast down, looking at their mobile devices. While the proliferation of mobile technology has changed the way that we interact, consume news, and share information, it has not completely eliminated our use of paper, as some predicted. In fact, our planet is still heavily reliant upon paper and paper-based products, especially businesses in the United States. The following statistics about paper will shock you, and prove that even in the digital era, paper still reigns.
- In the last 20 years, the usage of paper products has increased from 92 million tons to 208 million tons—a growth rate of 126 percent.
- Worldwide consumption of paper has risen by 400 percent in the last 40 years with 35 percent of harvested trees being used for paper manufacturing.
- In 1997, the total world paper and paperboard production was 299,044 metric tons, the equivalent of 200,000 Volkswagen Beetle cars.
- Americans still consume more paper per capita—upwards of 500 lbs. annually—than anyone else on earth.
- The average American uses more than 700 pounds of paper every year.
- The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population yet consumes more than 30 percent of the world’s paper.
- The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper every year.
- More than 70 percent of today’s businesses would fail within three weeks if they suffered a catastrophic loss of paper-based records.
- Paper in the average business grows by 22 percent a year.
- Paper cannot be recycled indefinitely. The maximum number of times paper fibers can be recycled is about seven to 10 times before the fibers break down.
- Over 60 percent of the roughly 17 billion cubic feet of timber harvested worldwide each year is used for paper and pulp.
- 40 percent of the world’s industrial logging goes into making paper, and this is expected to reach 50 percent in the near future.
We predict that even as technology continues to evolve, we will all still continue to be reliant upon paper in so many of its forms. While technology offers us many conveniences, we simply can’t imagine doing many of our daily tasks without high quality paper. Could you imagine journaling, scrapbooking, or planning your dayswithout paper? As long as proper recycling and reuse of paper products remains a priority globally, we will be happy to continue relying on our favorite notebooks.