Paperless in everyday life: Utopia or chance?
Paper plays a part in our lives in the most diverse ways in almost everything we do. People try again and again to make day-to-day life paperless, but is a life completely without paper really possible? And what would it look like?
Whether at work or at home, leading our daily lives without any magazines, printouts, notepads, and address books on our desks would probably be unthinkable for many. Some companies have already tried to convert their workplaces to purely digital ones – but it was never possible to put this idea into practice permanently. For example, there are still concerns that digital documents have no legal validity or are not adequately protected against unauthorized third-party access. At the end of March, a regulation was passed which ensures that electronic documents are legally recognized throughout the EU. However, no matter the form, location, or time at which we hold graphic paper in our hands, it will still be a while before sensible and practical alternatives prevail and are accepted in our daily life.
What would life be like without tissues, paper napkins, paper towels, diapers, or even toilet paper? One person or another might think that it wouldn’t be so difficult, but how often do you habitually reach for a paper towel instead of using a cloth? And what would happen if from one day to the next the production of toilet paper were halted and you had to look for alternatives? Everyday life with cloth handkerchiefs or napkins needing to be washed after each use, or with hand dryers, which also stir up germs and bacteria along with the air, would certainly be quite inconvenient.
Thanks to the rise in online commerce, the packaging industry has experienced an upswing in recent years. But what would happen if there were to be no more paper packaging for our orders or for private parcel delivery? Regardless of whether it involved books, electrical appliances, clothing, or food, everything would arrive either unpackaged or in paperless packaging. Do you think our purchases would all still be in perfect condition? In addition to shipping boxes, there are many other forms of packaging made out of paper, such as moving boxes, paper sandwich wrappers, or paper bags. There will probably not be a paperless alternative to paper shipping boxes any time soon. There are several other packaging paper products which would be easier to do without in day-to-day life, for example by simply taking your lunch in a container instead of using sandwich wrappers.
Inspired by a tomato carton, the Dutch company Fiction Factory developed the Wikkelhouse. It is sustainable, recyclable, and designed to last 100 years. To achieve this, wooden cladding was glued to 24 layers of corrugated board, protecting it from environmental effects. Darmstadt Technical University is currently researching buildings made of paper.
Furniture made only out of cardboard already exists: lamps, stools, shelves, chairs, tables, beds, and decorative items. A cardboard restaurant was presented at the International Home Fair in Milan, and in Shanghai and Taiwan there are already the first Carton King restaurants, where virtually everything is made from cardboard: even soups are cooked in cardboard woks.
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