9 Simple Yet Effective Ways to Save Trees

Image of forest of trees



Trees are a leading symbol of sustainability. And for good reason! They're heroes of our planet, working tirelessly to clean the air we breathe and help regulate climate change. 


Unfortunately, in a span of just over ten years, more than 166,000 square miles of forested land have been lost worldwide.1 That's an area roughly the size of California! 


So, what can we do to save our precious trees? Well, I'm glad you asked! 


Here are nine simple ways you can take action and save trees:

1) Recycle Paper and Cardboard - Properly!

Image of toilet paper/paper towel cores


Let's start with recycling paper and cardboard. Now, you might be thinking: "I already know that I can recycle paper and cardboard!" 


But do you know how to recycle them properly? 


When it comes to paper, it's important to know the do’s and don’ts of recycling. One wrong move could ruin an entire batch of otherwise ready-to-recycle paper. 


A few important reminders: 


  • Don’t recycle anything with grease or chemicals on it. Grease and chemicals absorb into the fibers and cannot be removed, but if they make their way into a vat of paper pulp, they can contaminate the whole batch! 
  • Don’t recycle shredded paper. There are special facilities that can take shredded paper, but most standard recycling centers can’t take shredded paper because their processing system isn’t designed to handle it. In fact, it falls through the crevices and clogs the whole machine! If you put shredded paper in your bin, they are likely to send all of your recycling to the landfill because it’s too difficult to separate the little bits of paper. 
  • Do compost when you can’t recycle! Again it depends on what the paper has been used for, but shredded paper is great for your compost. Consider using it to help out your garden instead. 


Reducing consumption should always be the first line of defense when it comes to saving trees, but recycling properly is one way to prevent more waste from piling up in landfills. 

2) Reduce Your Junk Mail by Opting Out

Now, let's talk about junk mail. Did you know that the average household in the United States receives the equivalent of one and a half trees per year of junk mail? That's 848 pieces of unwanted mail every year!2 Even if you didn’t care about how to save trees, wouldn’t it be a relief just to never see another letter regarding your car’s extended warranty? 


The good news: There are simple ways to reduce your junk mail load! 🎉


Image of mail piled up


Here are a few options: 


  • Register your name and address on the National Do Not Mail List to reduce unwanted promos and flyers. 
  • The Direct Marketing Association's Mail Preference Service (DMA) allows individuals to remove their name from mailing lists used by most national and regional companies. This will reduce catalogs, telemarketing calls, and emails.
  • Catalog Choice is another great option for reducing unwanted catalogs without having to individually call each business. 

Bonus points: Choose paperless billing for your utility and credit card statements! 


Opting out of junk mail isn’t just an effective way to save trees. Think about how freeing it will be to never see that endless ‘mail-to-be-sorted-later’ pile stacking up by the door! A clear mind and a clear trash bin.

3) Use Post-Consumer Recycled Paper

When you do need paper (whether it’s printer paper, an invitation or greeting card, or a coloring book for the kids), look for post-consumer recycled paper. 


Pre-consumer recycled paper is made from paper waste generated during the production process, such as trimmings and scraps. 


Post-consumer recycled paper is made from paper that has been used and then collected from households and offices for recycling. 


Post-consumer recycled paper is considered more sustainable because it diverts waste from landfills, as well as reduces the need to manufacture new paper from virgin materials (#savethetrees).

4) Use a Reusable Gift Bag Instead of Wrapping Paper

This is a simple tip — but one that’s often overlooked. When you’re given a gift bag, don’t throw it away! Repurpose it for your future gifts rather than using wrapping paper (which is often not recyclable!). 


Image of a reusable box for a gift


There are also many other ways to avoid using gift wrap:


  • Use decorative baskets 
  • Add a tote bag as part of the gift
  • Wrap your gift in cloth or tea towels as a decorative and sustainable way to wrap gifts
  • Hide your unwrapped gift and send the recipient on a treasure hunt


Use your imagination — the opportunities are endless!  

5) Decline Receipts When Possible

Did you know most receipts are not recyclable? 


This is because receipts aren’t printed with traditional ink. Instead, they use a chemical coating that is heat-activated in order to rapidly print your itemized details on the little crinkly slip. (You might even recognize the chemical — it’s BPA!)3 


If you don’t need a receipt, simply tell the cashier when you’re checking out. Many businesses will happily skip the print for you. You may also be given a choice on a tablet nowadays. Choose an email receipt or no receipt to help #savethetrees!

6) Know Your Tree-Saving Certifications

Ever heard of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Rainforest Alliance? Whether you're looking to buy wood or paper products, it's important to look for valid and quality certifications. With the epidemic of greenwashing, some businesses are hard to spot as frauds. 


The FSC and Rainforest Alliance are two of the most popular forest certification programs out there. Both organizations certify that wood comes from sustainably managed forests, but there are some differences between them in terms of what each product must meet before being certified.


FSC has standards for paper products and lumber, while the Rainforest Alliance has standards for everything else (including food).


Beware that there are different levels of certification, and a stamp from one of these organizations doesn’t automatically mean that a product is sustainable. When in doubt, do a quick search online to check what the certification entails. 

7) Learn the Common Culprits of Deforestation

Of course, the paper industry is high on the list for contributing to deforestation (more on this in #9), but did you know some non-wood-or-paper products are also leading causes of deforestation? 


Coffee, cocoa (often in the form of chocolate), and palm oil are three of the biggest culprits of deforestation.4 This is because these items are so profitable that businesses are willing to clear-cut forests in favor of more plantations. 


Image of coffee cherries 


In fact, one third of all rainforest destruction is caused by the clearing of land for coffee plantations. 


Luckily, you don’t have to say goodbye to chocolate forever! Again, there are labels and certifications you can look for that will tell you if a company is attempting to #savethetrees. 


Here’s what to look for when shopping:


  • For coffee: Look for labels like “shade-grown” and “bird-friendly.” This means the coffee was grown on plantations that maintain many of their natural trees and habitat. 
  • For cocoa: Look for the Rainforest Alliance certification. 
  • For palm oil: Look for a stamp of approval from RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) or labels like “orangutan-friendly.” (Psst: If you aren’t aware, palm oil is in nearly everything — from soaps and lotions to food and beverages).


Becoming a responsible consumer is just one of many ways to save trees. Use your spending habits to promote the change you want to see.  

8) Plant Native Trees

Of course, one easy way to save trees is to help plant more of them! Plant native trees in your yard or neighborhood, or join a local Arbor Day project to help plant more trees and restore native habitats to your local area! 


Don’t forget to do your research and plant the best trees for your area. And check with the power and water companies before you do any intense digging.  

9) Switch to Tree-Free Paper Products

Reducing your paper consumption is an obvious way to save trees, but we all still need essentials like toilet paper and tissues. But turns out, the average person uses the equivalent of 100 rolls of toilet paper every year5. That’s a lot of paper!


That’s why at Cloud Paper, we offer tree-free alternatives like toilet paper, paper towels, and facial tissues — all made from bamboo instead of trees! (Psst: Bamboo is actually a grass, which makes it way more sustainable!)



By switching to tree-free paper products, we can significantly reduce the impact of deforestation and preserve our planet's precious trees.

Simple Solutions Still Save Trees

Though these methods may be simple, they all play a part in helping save the trees. 


Let's pledge to make these practices a part of our daily routine and play our role in creating a greener and more sustainable future for generations to come. 


And if you use any of these tree-saving techniques after reading this, don’t forget to post it on social media and tag it with #savethetrees. Let’s see those changes in action!


  1. An Area Roughly the Size of California… | World Wildlife Fund
  2. How You Can Stop Getting So Much Junk Mail | Reader’s Digest
  3. What Trader Joe's Will Do About The Chemicals On Your Receipts | Forbes
  4. Wainaina, Priscilla & Minang, Peter & Nzyoka, Judith (2022). Tree Commodities and Resilient Green Economies in Africa.
  5. How much toilet paper does a person use? | My Oceans