Ninety-nine percent of all species that have ever lived have gone extinct and while this might be the result of volcanic eruptions and asteroid impacts, it is impossible to take the human factor out of this equation. Today, the rate of extinction is occurring 1,000 to 10,000 times faster because of us and our questionable actions and one of the main causes is the degradation of habitat through deforestation.
Forests are being destroyed to create the paper products we have come to rely on in our everyday lives. Take away coffee cups, paper bags, the office printer and glossy magazines all contribute to this loss.
With the pervasive role that paper plays in our lives is there a way to cut down? Yes says global travel company Trafalgar, who switched to e-documents in 2017 as a way to cut back on paper usage.
“There are five simple steps you can take that will make a major impact,” says Teresa Richardson, Managing Director for The Travel Corporation South Africa. These simple hacks will not only help prevent the 28 000 species predicted to become extinct in the next 25 years due to deforestation, but they’ll also be kind to your pocket. Who can argue with that?
- BYOB – Bring your own bag.
Bring your own reusable bag with you every time you shop – not just for groceries but wherever you shop. There are so many options available to shoppers and most fold up into the smallest of areas making it simple to keep in a handbag. And while you’re at it skip those paper bags as well.
2. Go paper free
Have your bills delivered by email or sms and pay them online. This is probably the easiest for South Africans and probably the most necessary given that the postal service does not do a great job of delivering the mail on any given day.
3. Read online
Choose e-versions of magazines, books, newspapers and brochures. E-book readers such as a Kindle store thousands of books and magazines and are wi-fi operated meaning you can download your favourite reads anywhere in the world. They’re also perfect for travelling. Gone are the days of carting a mountain of books that add to the weight of your suitcase.
4. Keep Cup
Buy your own reusable cup and save the planet from up to 1000 single use paper/plastic cups that pollute our environment and add to deforestation.
5. Say no to junk mail
More than 100 million trees are used to print junk mail notices – and stats show that as much as 44% of this mail never gets opened. Stop wasting our precious resources and opt out of junk mail. It will also save your sanity.
“It’s really easy to say no to paper, all it takes is a little thought and a commitment to caring for this beautiful blue pearl we call Planet Earth,” Teresa concludes.