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Pondering Paper and How to Save Trees

August 25, 2021


With the multitude of wildfires raging, it makes me concerned about the loss of trees. Trees make paper and paper makes traditional books. I often wondered about all the trees it took to print the millions of Harry Potter books and if the trees were being replenished. 

Come to find out, just how many trees go into producing a book varies by paper type, whether or not the pages are coated, and cut size. The Conservatree website ( has several calculations to determine how many trees might be used to make various types of paper. For example, one ton of uncoated non-recycled copy paper uses 24 trees.

The site got me thinking. As a writer whose work and product revolves around paper, I’m responsible for making a concerted effort to conserve and reduce the amount of paper I use. So in my office, here are some things that I do:

* Make quick notes about stories I’m working on on scrap paper such as white envelopes that come with bills or junk mail, and the backside of grocery lists.

* When I mark pages in books that I’m reading to research a nonfiction story, I tear post-it notes into smaller sizes and use those instead of full-size Post-its.

* When I print out stories to edit on paper, I print them on the backside of already printed on sheets of paper. When both sides are used, I recycle the paper.

* Limit the number of drafts I print out. Instead I work mostly on my laptop to do my editing. 

When it comes to printed books, I advocate getting rid of the jacket cover and just printing the information on the hard cover. 

Some of my creative friends have repurposed old books into journals and notebooks by reusing the covers and adding blank pages inside made of recycled paper. Rather than throwing out falling apart books, I’ve seen artists use the pages to print images on and then frame the new art. 

Teachers can take old pages of books and cut them into squares for kids to make origami art with, or cut out the artwork in the book to make greeting cards.

On the Conservatree sight there’s a link to see what else you can do to save paper. Let’s save more trees, one sheet at a time.

What are you doing to save trees and paper? Please share in the comments below.


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