Reinventing Business Cards: Environmental Perspectives

Each year 100 billion business cards are produced worldwide leading to the potential loss of approaching 6 million trees. Perhaps more shocking is the fact that within a week after receiving a business card, almost 90% of them are thrown away. Some of these cards will be recycled, but many will find their way into landfill.

42% of wood harvested globally is used to make paper, often leading to deforestation and habitat destruction. The use of so many trees to make paper is of major concern since 50% of all terrestrial carbon is stored in trees – making them a crucial buffer to ward off climate change.

Additionally, old-growth and older second-growth natural forests store significantly more carbon than newly-planted forests, and are often much more biodiverse than plantation-grown timber forests – often referred to as ‘Sustainable Forestry‘.


These are thoughts that few of us will have when we add yet another business card to our collection.

Environmental Impacts of Business Cards

Paper production is one of the most resource-intensive and polluting of all manufacturing industries with emissions to the atmosphere and water bodies, including bleaches and dioxins that are harmful carcinogens.

In the United States paper manufacturing uses the largest quantity of process water per unit of final product with an astonishing 324 litres of water being required to make 1 kilogramme of paper.

The adverse environmental impacts associated with paper include other negative externalities such as energy consumption in transport and handling and after use in the waste management process. Paper comprises 50% of business waste, 33% of municipal waste and 25% of waste going to landfill.

In a landfill, paper decomposes releasing methane gas that is over 20 times more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2.

globalization deforestation
More than 6 million trees are cut each year to make 100 billion business cards worldwide

Michael Brabham
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8 thoughts on “Reinventing Business Cards: Environmental Perspectives

  1. Hl Michael, great write up on reinventing business cards. Most people think of transportation as a major contributor to climate change. As you stated, paper waste is huge too. We feel like we have a sound alternative to this issue. We’ve created Squiqr to be purposeful too as we help support reforestation and the wellbeing of all life including wildlife. Would love your insight and feedback on our Squiqr Pro paperless business cards.

    Thanks so much,

  2. Ginko is the patented contact exchange app that aims to reinvent how the world connects. The app provides a novel alternative to those still managing relationships with antiquated business cards or contact managers that require a manual input of data.

    Ginko will have a significant and long lasting impact in preserving & protecting the environment.

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