Paper Use: How Did We Get Here and How Can We Change?

paper use

How did we get here? With new technology and better means of communication, storage, and data use how is paper still a major player in our modern lives?

Think about the way we communicate today via email and text message, as opposed to typing letters on a typewriter. Even now, newspapers are becoming outdated because of electronic means of writing and communication. However, more paper is being used than ever before.

We know document use has changed over time, but don’t you think it’s time for more of a change? Looking back at history, we are due for another major upgrade.

Take a look at some major points in history:

  • 1455: Johannes Gutenberg invents a printing press with metal movable type
  • 1884: Mimeograph Machine Invented
  • 1888: Ballpoint Pen Invented
  • 1958: Chester Carlson invents the photocopier or Xerox machine
  • 1966: Xerox invents the Telecopier – the first successful fax machine
  • 1976: First Apple home computer invented

Overall, technology has changed rapidly over recent decades but look what has happened to paper use along the way. Even though we have become a digital society we still view and use paper more than ever before.

Let’s look at the facts – Despite increasing use of electronics, in the last 20 years, the use of paper products has increased from 92 million tons to 208 million, which is a growth of 126%. This doesn’t seem logical for a generation who wakes up and falls asleep to the sound of their smart phones.

What’s the impact on our environment? Worldwide consumption of paper has risen by 400% in the last 40 years with 35% of harvested trees being used for paper manufacture.  If the current rate of deforestation continues, it will take less than 100 years to destroy all the rainforests on the earth.

The awareness seems to be evident, but more can be done to reduce paper waste with the help of electronic means such as document management and mobile devices. Let’s reverse the trend and work like we’re in the 21st century!