The typical stack of paper

Well, here are some mind blowing facts & figures to put all that paper into perspective.

North Americans consume more paper per capita than anyone else on the planet, upwards of 500 lbs (227 kg) per person annually. That’s equivalent to the weight of your average refrigerator, washing machine and clothes dryer combined. A 12-ft wall could be built from Los Angeles to New York City with paper thrown away annually by Americans alone.

Though paper recovery rates in the US have increased in recent years, paper still represents one of the biggest components of solid waste in landfills – 26 million tons (or 16% of landfill solid waste) in 2009. When paper decomposes in a landfill, it releases methane, a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Since Arkkeo’s HQ is in Helsinki, we looked at Finland’s paper consumption and found that Finland also ranks among the top countries. Every Finn consumes approximately 463 lbs (210 kg) of paper annually. Note that Western Europe as a whole averages 394 lbs (179kg) per capita.

If the paper consumption by Finns is converted to standard A4 paper (weight: 0,005 kg, length: 0,297 m), 5 million Finns’ yearly paper consumption would be approximately 6.237.000 km of A4 copy paper. If those papers would be put into a line, it would travel 156 times around the world.

Makes you think doesn’t it. In today’s digital age shouldn’t we all be receiving and consuming far less paper – reducing both the pile up in our homes and the impact on the environment?