This is a collection of statistics and numbers to show the potential impact of Margin Changing, as well as some general stats I've come across in my research about paper usage, the paper industry and the environment. I'll continue to add to the page as I find more useful facts & figures.

**MARGIN CHANGE IMPACT**

According to a study done by the Penn State Green Destiny Council, reducing margins to .75” on all sides results in a total reduction of paper by 4.75%. (1) This means that using these Efficient Margins on a ton of paper saves 19 reams of paper, which saves 1.14 trees.

This calculation is based on the following stats from Conservatree (2): *-1 ton of uncoated virgin (non-recycled) 20# printing and office paper uses 24 trees. -1 ream of paper (500 sheets) uses 6% of a tree. -1 tree makes 16.67 reams of copy paper or 8,333.3 sheets-The trees that are being used to make the paper are a mix of 40 foot-tall hardwoods and softwoods, 6-8" in diameter. *

So, you ask, what’s the big deal? 1.14 trees don’t seem like much of a tree-savings for a whole ton of paper. So cynical! Check these numbers out - they add up fast:

In 2003, the U.S. consumed approx. 5.4 million tons of office paper (3). If everyone used Efficient Margins, **every year** we would save 6,156,000 trees. (4)

Here's how you get that figure:

(5.4 million tons) x (Efficient Margins saving factor of .0475) x (24 trees/ton) = 6,156,000 trees

**And by reducing the amount of extra paper we'd have to create, we'd save a lot in energy costs and waste products, too...**

-Total energy: 9,840,368 million British thermal units (Btus), which is enough to provide power to 108,136 homes

-Greenhouse gas emissions: 1,459,535,366 pounds, which is the equivalent of CO2 emissions from 132,528 cars

-Solid waste: 584,396,539 lbs, which is the equivalent of 20,871 fully loaded garbage trucks

-Wastewater: 4.8 billion gallons, which is enough to fill 7,408 Olympic-sized swimming pools

Suddenly, one little margin change feels like it has a lot more impact!

**MARGINAL SAVINGS**

If you’ve become Margins convert and want to convince your company or school to adopt the standards, you can use these equations to figure out the “tree” and $$$ savings:

**Calculating Tree Savings**

To figure out how many trees you'll save by changing your margins, use this equation:

(amount of paper needed) x (frequency) x (efficient margin savings factor of .0475) x (# of trees used in paper creation) = trees saved

For example, you have a 25-page interdepartmental project update that goes out every week to everyone in the company (300 people). **That's 7500 sheets of paper or 15 reams used every week.** Here's what the equation looks like with the numbers plugged in:

(15 reams) x (52 weeks/year) x (efficient margin savings factor of .0475) x (.06 trees/ream used) = 2.22 trees saved/year.

-Every week, 7500 sheets (15 reams) of paper are used for the update.

-This is a total of 780 reams/year for this project.

-780 reams uses 46.8 trees.

-Applying Efficient Margins saves 2.22 trees during the year.

**Calculating $$$ Savings**

To figure out how much money you'll save by changing your margins, use this equation:

(amount of paper needed) x (frequency) x (efficient margin savings
factor of .0475) x ($2.50 - average bulk price for one ream of paper) = cost savings

Using the same example, the equation would look like this with the numbers plugged in:

*(15 reams) x (52 weeks/year) x (efficient margin savings factor of .0475) x ($2.50) = $92.63*

-Every week, 7500 sheets (15 reams) of paper are used for the update.

-This is a total of 780 reams/year for this project.

-780 reams costs $1950.00.

-Applying Efficient Margins means you only need 742.95 reams, which costs $1857.00, which means **an annual savings of $92.63. **

For some, almost $100 bucks is a nice chunk of change, for others, it’s merely pocket change. The key to making this idea work is that no matter how big or small the savings are from your perspective, the more people who actually do it, the more of a positive impact we’ll have on the environment. But since more often than not, businesses make decisions based on money as opposed to what’s good for the planet, here’s a handy dandy little chart I’ve put together for the costs savings for different amounts of paper (click on chart to see larger version).

**PAPER, TREES & THE ENVIRONMENT**

Just in case you’re in the mood for more numbers…

The conventional wisdom among paper industry forecasters is that "for every ton of paper displaced by computers, there is more than one new ton of demand generated.(5)

Of the global wood harvest for “industrial uses” (everything but fuelwood) 42% goes to paper production. (6)

The pulp and paper industry is the single largest consumer of water used in industrial activities in OECD countries and is the third greatest industrial greenhouse gas emitter, after the chemical and steel industries.(7)

The average office worker uses an estimated 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year.(8)

Depending on the manufacturing technology used, making one single sheet of copy paper can use over 13oz of water - more than a typical soda can.(9)

Over 4.6 million tons of copy paper were shipped in the U.S. in 2000. Producing and using this much copy paper consumes enough wood to build over 1 million average U.S. homes (a), a day's worth of water flowing through Niagra Falls (b), and more energy than that used by all the households used in the City of Los Angeles each year (c), while generating over 5.2 million tons of solid waste and greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the tailpipe emissions of over two million cars (d).(10)

The climate change effects of paper carry all the way through to disposal. If paper is landfilled rather than recycled, it decomposes and produces methane, a greenhouse gas with 23 times the heat-trapping power of carbon dioxide. More than one-third of municipal solid waste is paper, and municipal landfills account for 34 percent of human-related methane emissions to the atmosphere, making landfills the single largest source of such emissions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified the decomposition of paper as among the most significant sources of landfill methane.(11)

In the United States, we use enough office paper each year to build a 10-foot-high wall that’s 6,815 miles long. That’s more than the distance from New York to Tokyo! (12)

INTERNATIONAL MARGINS

Apologies to international folks interested in Margins that all the figures here use the U.S. system. Please feel free to convert them to your local system of measurement…and if you do, please send me the equivalents! Sadly, math was never my strong point. Here are a few conversions to help you out:

1 gallon = 3.785 litres

1 acre = .405 hectares

1 pound = 0.454 kilograms

1 ton = 0.907 metric tons

1 ton = 2000 pounds

1 metric ton = 1000 kilograms

SOURCES

(1) The reduction in paper use is based on the following conservative estimates: page savings will only be realized for approximately 50% of documents (a 1.5 page paper would gain no reduction in paper use for margin reductions), 50% of paper is used for printing or photocopying printed documents, and 19% more area available with 0.75” margins. Thus the total reduction in paper use is 0.50x0.50x0.19 = 4.75%. Mueller Policy Paper #1: Reduce Standard Margin Settings.

(2) www.conservatree.com: Claudia Thompson, in her book Recycled Papers: The Essential Guide (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992), reports on an estimate calculated by Tom Soder, then a graduate student in the Pulp and Paper Technology Program at the University of Maine. He calculated that, based on a mixture of softwoods and hardwoods 40 feet tall and 6-8 inches in diameter, it would take a rough average of 24 trees to produce a ton of printing and writing paper, using the kraft chemical (freesheet) pulping process. [URL: https://www.conservatree.com/learn/EnviroIssues/TreeStats.shtml]

(3) The State of the Paper Industry: Monitoring the Indicators of Environmental Performance. A collaborative report by the Steering Committee of the Environmental Paper Network Environmental impact estimates were made using the Environmental Defense Paper Calculator. For more information visit https://www.papercalculator.org.

(4) Environmental impact estimates were made using the Environmental Defense Paper Calculator. For more information visit https://www.papercalculator.org.

(5) Resource Information Systems, Inc., RISI Long-Term Pulp and Paper Reviews. RISI: Bedford, MA, July 1995, p. 52.

(6) Abromovitz and Mattoon, Worldwatch Paper: Paper Cuts, p. 20, 1999

(7) OECD Environmental Outlook, p. 218

(8) "Paper Efficiency…What it is and how to achieve it," Bruce Nordman, www.rethinkpaper.org

(9) "Clean Technologies in U.S. Industries: Focus on the Pulp and Paper Industry." United States-Asia Environmental Partnership (Washington, D.C.: September 1997)

(10) a: Assumes that a typical new wood frame home uses 15,000 board-feet. b: Assumes the flow through the Bridal Veil, American and Horseshoe Falls at Niagara Falls is 750,000 gallons/second. c: Assumes the average household uses 104 million BTUs of energy each year. d: Assumes an average driving distance of 200 miles per week.

Source: https://www.environmentaldefense.org/documents/2860_Citigroup_CopyPaper.pdf.

(11) www.environmentalpaper.org/stateofthepaperindustry.

(12) Greenprint: https://www.printgreener.com/earthday.html