Seven Weird Facts About Paper
We may be living in the age of the computer, email, and the ebook, but we?re still using a lot of paper. Here are some weird facts about paper and its usage that you may not know:
- Paper Brightness: How do you know how bright a piece of paper will appear? We measure the brightness of paper by how well it reflects a particular blue light wavelength. The higher the number, the brighter the paper appears to the human eye.
- Machines Use Most of our Paper Now: We don?t write on paper by hand much anymore, but our machines use a ton. Plotter paper rolls are used by machines that print vector-type graphics, which is is especially useful for engineering projects. But our machines are spitting out paper by the ton every day in offices all over the country.
- We?re Achieving Our Recycling Goals: Some years ago, the United States paper industry set a goal that 60% of all scrap paper would be recycled by 2012. We got there three years early. Now our scrap paper is being recycled into bond paper rolls and bulk engineering paper. In fact, a third of new paper is now made with recycled fibers.
- But, We Could be Doing Better: The average American office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of paper every year, and if 60% gets recycled, that still means 40% is getting tossed in the trash. Every ton of paper that we recycle saves us using 20 trees, 700 gallons of water, and three cubic yards of landfill space: so it?s worth thinking twice before just tossing that paper in a bin.
- Architects are Using Lots of Paper: If you wonder who is buying that 36 inch paper roll or plotter paper rolls, the answer is probably an architect or an engineer. There are 109,748 architects in the U.S. as of 2016, according to the Architectural Registration Board, and California has the largest number of them at 17,241. The average architectural or engineering office in the US goes through 3,500 square feet of engineering bond paper rolls, plotter paper rolls and other printed paper in a month!
- The First Mechanical Plotter was Invented in 1953: It was Remington-Rand that did it and it was an instant hit. The plotter basically allowed computers to draw. Today, plotters can do amazing things, including live drawing on plotter paper rolls and laser drawings. They can even use spray paint and brushes.
- We Still Occasionally Make Paper by Hand: Most paper is made by machine from wood, cloth scraps, or even cotton fibers. But some paper is handmade, and the largest handmade piece of paper ever created was made by Masaki Takahashi and Kazuki Maeda. They made it in Japan in 2009 and got themselves into the Guinness world records.
We use a lot of paper, we could be taking better care of our resources, and we shouldn’t take it for granted. Our world would be a dramatically different place without humble paper.