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Paper can consume our lives. Books. Magazines. Receipts. Coupons. Trash bags. Bills. Schoolwork. File folders. Junk mail. Photos. Tax forms. Sometimes it feels like a never-ending task to manage all the paper!cropped-tree-with-reflection-for-biz-cards-from-vista.jpg

We all have a desire to eliminate waste and handle less paper clutter. Southern Home Organizer President, Melinda Anderson, says that paper is the #1 challenge in most homes and managing it will not only help the environment, it helps relieve stress, saves time and can improve a home’s air quality.

We all want to save the planet and have no desire to kill trees and demolish forests so that we can have paper. Many of us see “Please consider the environment before printing this email” as a daily reminder. None of us want junk mail and know that phone books are a complete waste of time and energy. But are we ready to go completely paperless? And should we?

Here are a few ideas on reducing the excess paper from our lives – eliminating unwanted phone books, junk mail and catalogs, etc: http://www.independenttribune.com/community/columnists/going-paperless-the-possibilities-and-the-problems/article_b68cfe64-cbed-11e4-8d7e-13ad1fce54d9.html

In the opposite corner of the rink:What is the possibility of a true digital age? And is that something we want? Is digital really more environmentally friendly than paper? Are we making smart choices with our electronic devices?

Did you know time spent on the internet is taxing on energy loads around the country, and results in CO2 emissions? It goes WAY beyond our devices – our choices and their ultimate consequences affect the illustrious “cloud”, the massive servers we never see, and ultimately ends up damaging our atmosphere. All because we simply logged on and surfed. Who knew?

Then, there is the problem of e-waste. With digital devices being replaced every couple of years, e-waste has become a monumental problem on a global scale. The first time I wrote about E-waste just 5 years ago, we generated between 20 and 50 million tons per year and according to Environmental Leader, 93.5 million tons of electronic waste is now accumulated each year. Dealing with the proper disposal of these toxic products is an environmental nightmare. Do you know where your last computer ended up? Or just how many cell phones you’ve already been through?

The largest e-waste dump in the world is reportedly found here, with some very disturbing images. It’s a humanitarian problem with far reaching implications, not just an industry that “provides jobs and opportunities”. See for yourself:http://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2014/feb/27/agbogbloshie-worlds-largest-e-waste-dump-in-pictures

How do our daily lives need to change to be less taxing on our environment? Turn off or limit the electronics? Refuse or recycle the paper? Plant a tree? Hug a tree? Write a letter? Or a Blog? Nothing seems to be enough, all the answers hit a brick wall. Somewhere, though, we have to find the right balance. We have to stop growing waste.