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Easy Ways to Use Less Paper

One of Judaism’s important teachings is bal tash’chi, which means “you shall not waste.” In Deuteronomy 20:19, Jews are advised not to cut down or destroy trees, even in a time of war.

Using less paper is one way you can do your part to save trees. You can also reduce the use of water and the environmental effect of chemicals that are used to manufacture the paper. It is very easy to use less paper and make a difference to the environment:

Don’t discard paper that has only been printed on one side. “GOOS” paper is still Good On One Side. Flip it over and use it to print internal documents. You can also use one-sided flyers received from others for this purpose.

Consider keeping documents in pdf format on your computer. If you must print, print two pages per sheet and make the margins smaller to reduce the number of pages. These steps will help you reduce toner costs, too.

Receive bank and brokerage statements online. Only print those that you need for documentation. Many brokerages provide a year-end summary that includes all of the important information for the whole year, which means that you don’t always need to print all of the monthly statements.

Remove yourself from mailing lists from catalog companies. Go to the website http://www.catalogchoice.org/ and follow a few simple prompts to remove yourself from mailing lists for catalogs, coupons, phone books, fliers, newsletters, circulars and other unsolicited mail that you receive. This is a free service that is easy to use.

Use cloth napkins. Use dish towels or rags instead of paper towels whenever possible.

Keep cloth shopping bags handy for your trips to the store to reduce the need for paper (or plastic) shopping bags.

When you’re ready to discard, remember to recycle your paper. Also, buy paper from recycled sources.

These easy steps can make a large difference in the amount of paper that you use.

Originally posted as part of the Planet Jewish blog on jewishinstlouis.org at http://www.jewishinstlouis.org/blog.aspx?id=345

Gail Wechsler is the Director of Domestic Issues/Social Justice at the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis. She is the staff person for the Jewish Environmental Initiative (JEI), a committee of the JCRC and a part of the JCRC's Bohm Social Justice Initiative.
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