Apple, Google, Samsung… Big Polluters or Green Revolutionaries?

Where Apple, Google, Samsung, and Microsoft Stand in the Clean Energy Revolution.

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At the Paperless Movement, we dream of a paperless future. A future where we are connected, efficient and organized, and at ease with our tasks and the storage of our documents.

To realize this dream, we need technology. The kind of technology we’re now seeing in iPads, smartphones, computers, and the amazing apps and programs that help us organize our lives.

The technology we have access to has so many more functions than a simple pen and paper. Besides taking notes, we can illustrate, research, collaborate, calculate, voice record, and so much more. And to top it all off, we can store our important documents in the cloud, and access them from any device in any location.

But the transition to paperless isn’t complete. Even with these amazing tools of technology, we still use millions of tons of paper every year. This means cutting down millions of trees, polluting the environment through the tree harvesting, transportation, and introducing chemicals into our environment through the paper production process.

Then, in the end, much of the paper we make on a yearly basis ends up in landfills as waste.

The word paperless itself implies that we will use no paper, thereby saving trees which are essential to a healthy planet. But as we’ve seen in the blog post, “Does Going Paperless Help The Environment?”  just eliminating paper through the use of tablets and apps isn’t nearly enough.


To quickly recap the main ideas in that article:

  1. Tree farms have been created to produce wood for making paper. These farms are wisely managed, meaning we aren’t destroying old-growth forests to create paper, and these farms are usable green space that is an active part of our economy. Tree farmers argue that if we eliminate these farms, this land will be sold off and urbanized, eliminating green space and adding more polluting spaces to the environment.But the fact remains that creating paper pollutes the earth, and we throw out millions of tons of paper per year as a waste product.Using paper is messy and inefficient. If we had a clean energy source for producing and using our tech devices, we could save millions of trees per year and tons of landfill waste and pollution.
  2. On the other side of the issue is the technology we have available that eliminates the need for paper, filing systems, pencil, pens, etc.
    These systems give us massive computing power and amazing organization abilities, and so much more. They are the answer to eliminating paper use.
    Through digital storage alone, we eliminate the use and storage of paper documents; and discarding them is as simple as pressing “delete”.On the face of it, this sounds ideal, but the production of our devices is actually more polluting than paper production. Hardware production uses heavy metals and plastics and requires fuel to burn to create the energy it takes to make these devices. The manufacturing phase is still mostly powered by coal and other forms of dirty energy in China and Southeast Asia.At this time, the production of the technology we’re relying on to bring our paperless vision to life causes more pollution and harm to the environment, than we are currently causing with our properly managed tree farms for making paper.


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