What Is The Impact Of Use Of Paper On The Environment?

By: | November 16th, 2021

Image Credit: Pixabay

Paper has become an important thing in the business industry and it has made a huge impact in the industry. As technological advances have improved every industry, the paper industry is likewise improved by technological advances due to which there has been an increase in the availability of paper and consumption of paper. Paper is being used everywhere nowadays, whether you go into shops for buying groceries or go to the hospital to get yourselves treated, you will find paper everywhere.

However, there have been a lot of questions arising over the use of paper because it is linked with different environmental issues such as water and air pollution, overflowing landfills, and global climate change which has to increase regulations. 

Paper is a useful but wasteful product. The uses of paper are many but with every increasing day, a huge amount of paper is produced and it is causing a lot of environmental problems. Since there are different environmental issues related to the use of paper and paper products, let’s have a look at some of them:


One of the biggest issues caused by paper and paper products is deforestation. Deforestation has become a major problem in both developing and developed areas. For the production of paper, a huge number of trees are cut every day, every week, every month, and every year.

Trees are an important part of our environment and if we keep cutting them down to make products like paper when we have other alternatives available then we are actually damaging our environment. 

Let’s talk about the paper that is being used in offices all over the world. Every year, a huge amount of paper is being used in offices and we have alternatives available to paper products but we are not using them. Instead of using paper documents, digital documents are available that should be used to decrease deforestation. Digital documents such as PDF are easier to handle since you can easily Edit PDF, Compress PDF, Convert PDF from one format to another, e.g PDF to Excel or vice-versa i.e Excel to PDF. These documents are not only easier to handle and use but are also environmentally green.

Air Pollution

Air Pollution is also linked with the production of paper. Out of different industries out there, emissions from pulp & paper industries have a huge effect on the environment, polluting the air. Production of paper involves the release of gases such as NOx, SOx, and CO2, all of which are harmful and dangerous gases if released into the environment.

Not only are nitrogen and sulfur oxides contributors to acid but they can also smog, which can cause certain respiratory diseases. Carbon Dioxide is known for its damaging effects on the ozone layer of the atmosphere, damaging it and creating a hole inside it which allows harmful radiations from the Sun to directly reach the surface of the Earth.

Water Pollution

Pulp and paper industries are also contributors to water pollution that is on the rise all over the world. These industries and mills are the major contributors of nutrients, solid wastes, and dissolved matter like lignin in freshwater reservoirs. Other agents like alcohols and inorganic substances such as chlorine and its compounds which are used for bleaching are also added to the water. 

These waste products can then go and pollute the freshwater reservoirs into which they are released including rivers and lakes, not only polluting the water but also affecting marine life.

Paper Waste

Although most of the paper and its products are recyclable, they still account for more than 25% of solid waste in dumping sites, mostly paper and paperboard. Although it is the humans that are at fault here since they are just throwing the paper away instead of recycling it, de-inking of paper during recycling is also a chemical process that emits a huge number of chemicals into the environment. Still, it is always better to recycle paper than to just throw it away. Recycling paper is less harmful to the environment than the production of the new paper. 

The use of paper must be decreased slowly and gradually so that it would be possible for us to make the transition towards other technologies. In offices and businesses, using digital documents instead of paper and paper products is the right thing to do and there is no better time than this for companies to go paperless. Governments and organizations will also have to play their part and address the environmental impact of the paper.


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