# How many pages "Kill a Tree"?

We were reading a memo that went out to all staff at work and someone made the comment, “For this, they killed a tree?” The question then came up: How many pages does it take to kill one tree? Putting it another
way: How many 8.5 X 11 inch pages of standard photocopy paper would be
produced from an average tree sent to a paper mill?

How much paper can be made from a tree?

Informative site, but oddly disturbing frogs. They seem to be looking at you, saying ‘Our day will come…Oh yes, human…’

from the cite: 17 trees to make a ton of paper (Rule of thumb)

One tree = 1/17 ton of paper.

2000/17 = 117 lbs. of paper out of a tree

My Xerox Jamfree MultiUse Paper is 20lbs/3000 sqft.
(weight of this type of paper is expressed in pounds per 3000 sqft of area)

117/20 = 5.85

3000 sqft x 5.85 = 17500 sqft

8.5" x 11" = 93.5 sqin = 0.649 sqft

17500/0.649 = 26,951 pieces of 8.5" x 11" 20# copy paper

This is what I call an “Order of Magnitude” calculation, not a precise answer.

This site refers to variables such as paper grades which mean the answer isn’t a cut-and-dried one at all.

I found this information in the Conservation Online Archives:

The link to the site is: http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/byorg/abbey/ap/ap04/ap04-5/ap04-508.html
This is a mailing list for conservators and archivists. And the type of paper in question does need to be taken into account. I can’t remember the figures given in my rare books class, but there’s a lot more wood pulp in newspaper (which is of a lower quality) than there is in paper used for books.

The correct answer is zero.

Trees are grown for the paper industry.

The demand for paper is what causes the forests to be there in the first place.

The paper companies, and others, grow millions of acres of forests so they will be able to make paper.

If people started using zero pages, and did not buy paper anymore, there would be no need to replenish the forests, we would not need these forests anymore, and the paper companies would sell the land and the trees would be gone forever.

I would think that depends heavily on the region you’re talking about. Certainly the pulp mills in my home town did not own the lands they logged, nor in fact the trees on them. Rather, the government owns the forests, some of which have been planted, and others of which are old, natural growth and the pulp mills pay stumpage fees for what they are permitted to harvest. They do, of course, have to replant the areas that they harvest from, but of course, a replanted forest land differs from a natural growth in a number of ways.

I’m not much of a tree hugger, and come from a family and a region that’s always relied on logging to put food on the table, so I’m apt to support the industry view as often as not, but the suggestion that paper is made exclusively from trees planted for that purpose is, I think, untrue. One thing that brings the number closer to zero, is the fact that paper is often made from the refuse of other milling activities - sawdust and chips left over from sawmills. I would imagine there are areas and types of trees where whole trees are dedicated to papermaking, but at least where I grew up, that wasn’t how it was usually done.

Well, no… the correct answer to the question, “How many pages kill a tree?” is not zero, although as noted by the referenced websites there are many variables that influence just what the final number might be.

Once again, no. Many paper companies do own huge tracts of land and their objective is indeed to grow trees so that they might be harvested and turned into paper. However, the production of wood fiber is never the only forest value realized on private and public lands. In fact, our National Forests are managed under the Multiple-Use Sustained Yield Act (1960), among other pieces of legislation. And this Act requires the US Forest Service to consider all forest values: timber, non-timber, economic, non-economic, etc.

Similarly, many privately held forests also manage their lands for mulitple values: water quality, habitat protection, and recreation. Several years back while doing my M.S. in Forestry, I remember a statement given in class that emphasized the muiltiple-values argument on private land. The statement was something to the effect that Louisiana Pacific generates more money from their hunting leases in Lousiana than they do from selling the paper produced on those same forests.

Typical paperback books are printed on recycled “newsprint” type paper killing fewer trees. To run with the calculations a bit.

1 sheet of 8.5x11 paper = roughly 2 pages. = 53902 pages (room for trimming/coverstock, etc)

Typical book 200 pages. 53902/200 = 269.51

Or roughly 250 books per tree.

The book warehouse I work in contains:

1,126,563 books / 269.51 per tree or 4180 trees.

Total inventory value \$7,468,798 / 4180 = \$1786.79 in retail book price per tree.

Of course these are rough numbers as well.

Actually, I think the correct answer is one page. By cutting the tree down for paper, you’ve killed it regardless of how many pages you actually extract.

So by the logic presented here, the Lorax (Dr. Seuss’s famous anti-forestry book) would have required some 2000 trees to be cut down in order to be produced into the estimated 500,000 copies sold, not to mention the plethora of marketing materials for the recent film.

The Lorax is not an anti-forestry book. It is a screed against thneeds.

So, it’s that first page that kills the tree, but then you can get a whole bunch more pages for free from the same dead tree (zombie pages, so to speak) before you have to kill another tree.