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Taking Note of Paper's Popularity

Posted by Charles Parrott, AMS Fruit and Vegetable Program Deputy Administrator in Conservation
Aug 28, 2015
Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds campaign infographic
Through its Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds campaign, the Paper and Packaging Board reminds us of the many ways we are connected to paper. Photo courtesy of the Paper and Packaging Board. (Click to enlarge)

Kindle, iPad, and Surface—oh my! It’s fascinating to think about the increasing number of electronic tablets in the marketplace. However, a recent survey suggests that students and educators alike grab another notepad when it comes to comprehending what they’ve read. And that notepad is made of paper.

In fact, 74 percent of college educators surveyed in the 2015 Annual Back to School Report said that their students are more likely to stay focused when they are using a notebook and textbook rather than a laptop. Almost 80 percent of the K-12 teachers in this same survey also said that their students comprehend information better when they read on paper. As such, 63 percent of the teachers surveyed indicated that their courses involved paper-based learning.

This phenomenon was recently captured in a Washington Post story where college students admitted they preferred reading a hard copy of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America and other large books rather than an electronic version.

The Paper and Packaging Program is one of more than 20 industry research and promotion programs overseen by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). These self-help programs are charged with developing cutting-edge marketing campaigns and innovative research to support all of the members of the industry. Publicizing the results of the 2015 Annual Back to School Report and the Washington Post story are just a couple of examples of how the Paper and Packaging Board maintains and develops new markets for paper and paper-based packaging.

The program reminds us through its campaign, Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds ™, of the many ways we are connected to paper. For example, one of the organization’s infographics demonstrates the important role paper plays in our country’s recycling efforts. In addition to representing more than half the country’s recyclables, paper products support the paper mill industry where 80 percent of the country’s mills rely on recycled paper to make new paper.

As students all over the country head back to school, AMS would like to thank the Paper and Packaging Board for all it is doing to support the education of our children and the livelihood of the paper and packaging industry. And just like back in school, we are joining the campaign by passing along a very special note: paper still plays a major role in our daily lives. We encourage you to visit the campaign’s website, Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds ™ to learn more about the program. We also encourage you to visit our Research and Promotion Programs website to see how these programs are making a difference in your community.

A boy coloring on a piece of paper
A survey suggested that 63% of teachers develop their courses around paper-based learning. Photo courtesy of the Paper and Packaging Board.
Category/Topic: Conservation