The invention of paper is universally considered one of the most pivotal in human history.
The mass production of paper products such as books, newspapers and notebooks allowed for literacy and information to spread rapidly across the world. Other paper products such as paper money and office notepaper allowed societies to build and record complex systems of governance. Paper also contributed to the development of fine arts, with its use indispensable in drawing, painting and decorative arts.
As the world has moved towards digital, paperless options for some products, you might be tempted to think paper no longer plays a role in your life. But paper still contributes more than you might think, even if you’re using your phone to read and pay bills digitally. Here are ten ways that paper unexpectedly impacts your life.
1. Paper Keeps You Clean
Paper plays an invaluable role in helping keep societies clean and hygienic. According to the Mayo Clinic, paper towels more effectively remove bacteria and prevent contamination when compared to electric air dryers. Disposable paper products such as tissues, paper cups and napkins all also help reduce the risk of illness and infection by allowing for single uses. And of course, we can’t forget the necessity of toilet paper for a hygienic and sanitary life.
2. Paper Helps Feed You
Much of our food and drinks are packaged and shipped with paper products. From cereal boxes to coffee and tea filters, paper is indispensable to the way we eat and drink. Paper is lighter and easier to recycle than glass or metal and provides a better taste and aesthetic for food packaging than plastics. Whether it’s by providing the trusted cardboard cartons for our milk and juice or allowing us to
wipe our face with fresh napkins, paper products are an essential staple at the dining table.
3. Paper Keeps You Involved
While much of the way we digest our news is moving towards digital and paperless methods, paper still plays a major role in our country’s elections. Our nation’s elections always use paper ballots, for both absentee and in-person voting. This reliance on paper isn’t just the result of tradition or resistance to change. According to the Brookings Institute, election security experts from Stanford, Harvard and the Brennan Center for Justice have all recommended phasing out all paperless voting. Voting by paper has been shown to be more secure, and more resistant to ballot tampering than any other method.
4. Paper Keeps You Engaged
It’s no secret that people love to consume information digitally. Most people gather their news from their smartphones, and any college lecture hall is full of students taking notes on laptops and tablets.
But when it comes to deep reading and truly engaging with a text, research shows paper is still the way to go.
The Scientific American found that most readers still prefer reading on paper, especially for intensive reading. The tactile feel of paper provides mental boosts beyond better retention of information and improved short and long-term memory. Reading by paper also engages more of the bodily senses than through digital screens. The physical touch, smell, and sounds of turning pages have all been shown to stimulate sensory experiences that help engage the brain.
5. Paper Keeps You Healthy
Paper is used in many of the single-use medical supplies that help keep hospitals clean and our society safe. Paper products are especially useful during our ongoing pandemic by providing doctors and nurses with single-use paper-based surgical masks, as well as hospital gowns, shields and additional necessary medical supplies such as gauze and bandages.
6. Paper Keeps Our Environment Sustainable
One of the most pressing environmental challenges facing our world today is how to manage growing levels of microplastics in our ecosystems. Plastics are inorganic material that does not naturally breakdown in our environment, causing severe harm to plant and animal life over time. Paper on the other hand, is easily recyclable. Phasing out disposable plastic products in favor of paper helps to lower levels of harmful plastic waste. The BBC found that plastic bags can take anywhere from 400 to 1,000 years to decompose. Even then, plastic can break down into inorganic microplastics that can build up in an environment.
7. Paper Helps You Decorate
Paper plays a major role in our decorative arts. Interior decorations such as wallpaper, art prints and posters all come from paper. And paper is also used extensively for gift wrapping, holiday
decorations and meal spreads. It’s hard to imagine decorating your home without using any paper products. Interior decorations are more than just aesthetically pleasing on the eyes. Decorated rooms have been shown to offer a better living experience for their occupants as well.
8. Paper Helps Entertain
From boardgames to arts and crafts, paper products are a source of entertainment for millions of people. Every child has memories of creating art projects of papier-mache, and paper art such as origami can be mesmerizing and beautiful. Paper is accessible and relatively inexpensive, making it a great medium for beginner artists or art education.
9. Paper Allows for Communication
Paper was the primary source for long-distance communication for hundreds of years. While digital communication has taken over the letter-writing space, handwritten paper letters still have their appeal.
Documents of importance, whether they’re love letters, court documents or college acceptance letters are all still written on paper.
And when it comes to communicating through shipping, paper products reign supreme. Paper products are used in the shipment of millions of packages across the world. Much of the proliferation of online shopping is due to the affordability and versatility of cardboard products.
10. Paper Creates Art
Some of the world’s most beautiful pieces of art were created on paper. Paper is used for watercolor paintings, calligraphy, typography and drawing. And of course, sketchbooks are an integral part of any artist or designer’s essential tools. Paper plays an essential role in the history and development of the visual arts.
Your Paper Today
Paper continues to play a major role in your life each day. From the carton of orange juice on your breakfast table, to the cardboard boxes delivered to your door, paper plays a role. At NORPAC, we’re committed to creating high-quality paper products with the most sustainable methods.
All our paper products are sourced from sustainably managed forests and certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. Each of our products are chlorine free, whether in production or recycling. And our production lines all emphasize low water use and an overall low carbon footprint.
Connect with us today to receive paper samples as well as updates on NORPAC and our paper products.