plastic and metal trash in the dirt ground

Why is Paper Better than Plastic or Metal?

Join E1011 Labs in learning about the impact of paper, plastic, and metal on the environment

Minimizing your personal impact on the environment can be hard. Everything we do seems to contribute to climate change. While it may be tempting to give up, we can take steps to help that are simpler than you think. 

Paper has gotten a bad reputation over the years for contributing to deforestation and using up a ton of water – not to mention the chemical waste generated by pulping, refining, and bleaching the cellulose fibers. However, the resultant increase in plastic usage has become just as disastrous for the environment. Landfills overflow, and the ocean is getting cluttered with waste. It turns out that the biodegradability of paper gives it a leg up in terms of sustainability.

Is Paper More Sustainable?

Though the industry did its share of damage back in the day, it’s time to give paper another look. While it’s true that historically refining cellulose into paper sheets has put enormous strain on water resources, paper plants have stepped up their game. Some, like the Mckinley plant in New Mexico, completely recycle the water for the next batch of pulp. 


While we all lament the loss of old-growth forests, the current US paper industry isn’t responsible for that. Most lumber and paper come from small privately-managed forests whose owners have financial incentives to grow more trees than ever before. These owners plant an average of three trees for each tree they cut. If trees are responsibly sourced, using paper can actually result in more overall trees – as it has over the past hundred years. While it’s true that large swaths of land have been brutally deforested, this is generally done in the name of agricultural production and not for paper.

Energy Production

While it takes a lot of energy to produce paper, the industry has been making strides on that front, as well. Though paper and paperboard production increased by 25% in 2017 over 2000, energy usage only increased by 5%. New technology played a part in this, as well as the prevalence of recycling, which can decrease the impacts of creating new paper. Paper mills have started to generate much of their own energy by burning paper waste products, further reducing their energy footprint.

Paper Is Biodegradable

Paper, unlike plastic, can be composted in your garden or sent to the community compost center. When considering the impacts of disposable single-use products like our pods, it’s important to remember the alternatives. For example, boxed water has taken paper to the next level by using milk-style cartons to replace plastic water bottles. Life-cycle studies end up making paper look pretty sweet, and it’s a lot less likely to end up in the ocean or to stay intact if it does. 

Why and How Do People Inhale Herbs or CBD?

Vaping pods are usually made of plastic or glass with metal and ceramic components. If you’re talking about a single-use vape pen, the waste generation is even higher. Vaping with disposable cartridges on a rechargeable battery is a step up, but still leaves you with the problem of a short-lived, non-biodegradable item that will ultimately end up in landfills.


Enter our paper-wrapped, completely compostable STEM pods. Once you’ve finished inhaling your CBD-rich hemp buds, all you’ll have left is a little tube of paper with plant remnants inside. Since paper is perfect for your compost pile, you don’t have to worry about contributing to overflowing landfills or filling the ocean with waste that takes centuries to break down

What Can We Do?

It would be wonderful if everyone grew their own hemp and prepared it themselves with little to no waste, but we have to be realistic. Disposable products are here to stay, and all we can do is ensure that they have the minimum impact possible. With all of the many benefits hemp provide, we’ve made it our mission to make quality hemp product available to those who want it. This means making sure that our hemp delivery device is easy to use and convenient to operate. 

We feel that we’ve balanced these needs to the best extent that we can. With one Elon vaporizer, you can reap the benefits of hundred of Stem pods, all of which results in a very small pile of fully-compostable paper with minimal environmental impact. 

Make the switch and move away from disposable vape pens, vape pods, or unsightly cigarette filters littering the ground. Experience the subtle flavor of CBD-rich hemp heated to just the right temperature to release its benefits. You can make the more eco-friendly choice to forego litter and still enjoy that flavorful breath of herb. Try Elon and Stem today.