What’s a world without paper?

What’s a world without paper?

Veritiv Print and Paper | October 19, 2021

“Check, please,” she said, betraying her age. “The what now?” The young waiter was confused. “Sorry. How much do I owe you?”

The waiter looked at his arm where he’d scribbled the woman’s order. He added it up on a calculator then gestured for the woman to hold out her arm, where he penned $24.79 in red ink, with a blank line below it for the tip. “You can pay at the counter,” he said and walked away, leaving behind the pen.

The woman reached for her purse to prepare to pay her bill. She opened her wallet, an antique that still had a place for paper currency. Paper. She glanced around the diner and wondered how many of the other patrons remembered what paper was.

Walking down Main Street, she glanced into the shops and stores and saw even more reminders.

At the kindergarten, a frazzled teacher struggled to show how to fold squares of thin rubber. Groups of children watched, seated around tables trying their very best to correctly crease origami animals.

At the jewelry store, a lapidary gazed at a diamond while his assistant struggled to wrap an expensive necklace box. The pseudo-crepe paper fell limply around it, not the sharp, sleek effect that the jeweler wanted to present.

Across the street at the pizza parlor, a birthday boy strained and howled as the plastic wrapping just wouldn’t rip open.

She wondered if it would be possible to return. Yes, for all the ways that paper was so useful—to learn, to communicate, to decorate, to create, to entertain, to be entertained, to protect, to guarantee, to solidify agreements, to document the present, to preserve the past, to ratify the future—but also the delightful feel of it. Nothing in the Plastic Age could give the same organic warmth.

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Luckily, we don't need to face a world without paper. While there have been some recent changes in the paper industry, we’re here to help you through it. To read more about print's new normal and how to handle current supply chain issues, check out our content hub.