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Origami in Perspective

Trilemma Jr.

Many around the world love Origami, but how much paper does that waste? What are the environmental effects of Origami?

by Ira Thota, a Trilemma Jr. writer

Origami. That’s one word that I know quite well. I would say that I am OBSESSED with Origami, and like my sister says, I do it morning, noon, and night. I’ve been learning how to do Origami for the past couple of years, and I can say for a fact that I use A LOT of paper. My mom always says that I use up all the paper in the house, and I agree. Despite that, it’s still my favorite hobby. I am one of many people around the world who do Origami, and that got me thinking “Does Origami have a negative impact on the environment?”

Well, there is a trilemma to this question: The first perspective is that Origami is a wonderful form of art and everybody should do it. The second perspective is that Origami is a waste of paper and it hurts the environment. Is there a neutral perspective?

Origami’s benefits outweigh the risks:

According to Gymboree Global, one of the benefits of Origami is how it causes your fingers to start moving faster, because Origami requires movement. Another benefit is that it allows kids and adults to use their imagination. Additionally, it improves their concentration and focus. Last but not least, it gives everybody a sense of satisfaction or accomplishment.

Also, Origami has both mental and physical health benefits. According to Origamispirit, “Origami is one avenue that provides both mental and physical stimulus with exercise. Origami helps develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and mental concentration. The use of the hands directly stimulates areas of the brain. Origami is used in various therapeutic settings, including art therapy and in stroke and injury rehabilitation.”

The Environmental Perspective:

According to StopWaste “Using less paper can save your organization money and can also help with several environmental problems. Of all trees harvested for industrial use, 42% goes to making paper. Unfortunately, the degradation of forests is only part of the story. The pulp and paper industry is also the largest industrial user of water, the biggest water polluter, and the third-largest emitter of global warming pollution in most industrialized nations.”

Origami uses a LOT of paper, so imagine the negative impact on the environment. According to University Of Southern Indiana, “The amount of wood and paper we throw away each year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years. Approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the U.S. Americans use 85,000,000 tons of paper a year; about 680 pounds per person.The average household throws away 13,000 separate pieces of paper each year. Most is packaging and junk mail.

The Neutral Perspective:

Origami is a fun thing to do, despite the fact it wastes paper. However, you should still try to do it with recycled or previously used paper instead. Even a small thing like saving paper while making Origami, can make a big difference. So, while saving the environment, you can still do what you love.

There you have it. That’s Origami, in perspective.


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