From holiday cards and packaging to decor and wrapping paper, this season, more than ever, we rely on paper, packaging and other paper products.
Even in the digital age, the paper industry is booming. In fact, there are more jobs available in the paper industry in any one year than all of the new paper science & engineering graduates throughout the country combined.
So exactly how much paper do we use during the holiday season? Let’s start with holiday cards.
While the original idea for Christmas cards was conceived in 1843 in England, it wasn’t until 1875 that the idea came to America. According to Hallmark, December is the busiest card-sending month in the US with approximately 1.2 billion paper cards sent annually. In a recent poll, 85% of consumers said that they send Christmas cards, letters or photos during this season.
Beyond the physical card, paper is also used to produce the envelope and postage stamp needed to send it through the mail. According to the US Postal Service, they expect to deliver a total of approximately 15.5 billion cards, letters, flats, and packages during the 2015 holiday season, all of which are made using paper.
And what about holiday gifts? In 2014, 44% of holiday shoppers in the US purchased their gifts online, which means approximately 140 million Americans relied on essential paper-made boxes and packaging used to ship their products. This year, on December 21st alone, the US Postal Service estimates that 30 million packages will be delivered. That’s a lot of paper!
Last year, the average number of gifts wrapped by each adult in the United States during the holiday season was 15.3. And, in a recent poll conducted by Hallmark, over 98% of consumers say they wrap gifts during the holiday season.
Don’t forget about the paper used to decorate homes for the holiday, the paper products used for napkins and plates during holiday entertaining, the apparel boxes and packaging that accompany every gift, the paper used to write wish lists and letters to Santa, and the paper used for thank you notes.
Before you go worrying about all the trees it takes to make paper, remember that wood is a responsibly sourced renewable resource–each year, forests in the US and Canada grow significantly more wood than is harvested. More so, in North America, paper is recycled more than any other commodity.
So, while you’re celebrating the season, remember just how essential paper is to your holiday!