The environmental impact of business cards

Although a lot has been written about paper used in offices every day – especially paper used in copiers and office printers – very little, if any, has been written about the environmantal impact of the other paper-based office tool; the business card. It looks so innocent in its tiny size, that nobody seems to pay attention. But if you look at the numbers, things are getting quite serious.

The paper needed for business cards, is produced from processed wood. Actually, paper produced by a single tree is enough to produce around 20,000 business cards. And while for a single professional this number might seem huge – it might take you a whole life to hand-out 20,000 business cards – the same is not true when it comes to company level; most companies printing needs are far more than 20,000 business cards per year. According to the latest verified available statistics (here: http://www.statisticbrain.com/business-card-statistics), in the US alone 1 billion business cards are printed each year. 1 billion! That’s – even with most optimistic calculations on use of recycled paper – about 30,000 trees per year or about 500 hectares of forest! And that’s for the US alone.

What is more disturbing, is that 88% of those trees, or more than 26,000 trees, are wasted for nothing! And about 2,500 trees are spent in producing business cards that eventually will end up in a digital format (that will be added in a digital contact list). With modetn tecnologies available, handing out printed business cards – especially for those that will eventually end up in a digital contact list – is insane!

That was one of the main reasons driving us to develop ScreenTag, a service that actually skips the printed paper mediation in exchanging contact details among not only business professionals but also private individuals. With our current server capacity of 680,000 contact shares per day, ScreenTag could easily be saving over 10,000 trees each year.

Let’s save some trees!

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