By the recycling container is a large sign "Only You Can Save A Tree". The container is marked "Paper". I watch as the people at work carefully put every scrap of paper into the recycle bins, all of them feeling smug and more ecologically aware and more like they are kind to the planet. They are thinking backwards.
Let us think forwards. We will use simple facts.
1. In the U.S. all paper is made from planted, tree-farm trees. None comes from old growth timber.
2. By law, every tree cut on a tree farm has to be replaced with from 4 to 6 seedling trees.
3. Therefore, every tree "saved" ie: not cut down to be used for paper because recycled paper was used instead is not replaced by more trees.
4. Therefore, every tree "saved" results in a net loss of 5 trees to the biosphere.
5. It takes more energy resources to recycle paper than to harvest and process trees for the same purpose.
6. Therefore, every tree "saved" is a net energy loss to the biosphere.
7. Conclusion: waste every bit of paper you possibly can. It is an act of environmental awareness and love for the planet.