Have you ever wondered how many acres of forest are cut down to provide the thousand and one paper and wood products we take for granted on a daily basis? Forests that combat global warming, forests that clean the air of carbon dioxide and pump out oxygen, forests that provide a habitat for hundreds of thousands of species of life.
Nobody thinks that we can live without paper and wood products, but responsible use will help slow the wholesale destruction of this invaluable natural resource.
* Save a tree, use less paper. You can buy "tree-free" 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper for everything from greeting cards to toilet paper. Paper with a high post- consumer waste content uses less virgin pulp and keeps more waste paper out of landfills.
* Want hardwood floors? Opt for bamboo. Bamboo is considered an environmentally friendly flooring material due to its high yield and the relatively fast rate at which it replenishes itself. It takes just four to six years for bamboo to mature, compared to 50-100 years for typical hardwoods. Just be sure to look for sources that use formaldehyde-free glues.
* Remove yourself from junk mail lists. Each person will receive almost 560 pieces of junk mail this year, which adds up nationally to 4.5 million tons, according to the Native Forest Network. About 44% of all junk mail is thrown in the trash, unopened and unread, and ends up in a landfill. To stem the flow into your own home, contact the Direct Marketing Association's Mail Preference Service at P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512, or download the online form. Opt out of credit card or insurance offers at OptOutPrescreen.com or by calling 888-567-8688, a single automated phone line maintained by the major credit bureaus.