Do you have any idea how much paper we still waste every year in the US, despite the fact that we're in the midst of this so-called digital revolution? It's a lot--it still makes up for a third (32.7 %, as of 2007) of our entire municipal waste, which is 254 million tons, according to the EPA. Half the trees felled in the US every year are used for paper, and an estimated 30-40 percent of our landfills are filled with paper waste.
But it gets worse--for every tree cut down, only half can be turned into wood pulp, the substance used to make paper. It's a horribly inefficient process, and forests worldwide are shrinking all the faster because of it. And yet, there are some intriguing alternatives to wood-based paper cropping up in that are worth keeping an eye on.