5 Paper Products That Can't Be Replaced In a Digital World

With a lot of information being offered on the Internet and projects working to develop touch screen computers that are paper-thin and flexible gaining momentum, a lot of industries will eventually abandon print.  We’ll read digital newspapers, whose stories refresh every morning, digital books will sit in our back pockets, and reports will be shared between different tablets. But there are certain things that simply don’t work in a digital world.

1.     Paper cups/Paper plates

Sure, paper flatware isn’t a necessity, but they make life a lot easier.  After a family reunion with 50 people in attendance, who wants to wash all those dishes?  And you wouldn’t be able to get coffee from Starbucks to go unless you bring your own mug.  And really, who does that?  You might remember sometimes, but what if you forget?  Would the barista give you a ceramic mug and prevent you from leaving until you finished? It seems rather impractical to me. And what about the food at carivals? With elephant ears served on plastic and snowcones in glasses, would we not be able to walk and eat and forced to sit in a gated area? I can just see the carnies following visitors, making sure plates, cups, and bowls are returned.

2.     Napkins/Paper Towels

What would you do if you spilled your drink while watching a movie at home? Well, I guess in that case you can fetch a rag.  But at a restaurant?  In the car?  Everyone could carry a handkerchief like in the old days, but I can’t imagine they would stay clean for very long.  There really isn’t a point in cleaning up with something that isn’t clean.  And I really don't want to think about what we would use instead of toliet paper.

3.     Party Supplies

What’s a birthday party without paper cone hats for the guests? Or a New Years Eve bash without those poppers that expel paper streamers?  Plus, how are you supposed to decorate a room if you don’t have a variety of crêpe paper streamers to hang from the ceiling and wrap around table legs?  It just won’t work.  Plus, no paper means no piñatas, and that just makes everyone sad.

4.      Wrapping paper

I don’t think wrapping Christmas gifts with strings of light would work.  And I have no idea what we would use for birthdays, deflated balloons?  In either case, the whole point of wrapping a gift – keeping the item a surprise – is lost. Similarly, a lack of packing paper would mean we couldn’t reuse boxes in the mail system. I guess we could just use solid color tupperware containers and decorate them with stickers if paper is gone.  Wait, no, stickers are made from paper too. And ribbon.  No wrapping stations would also mean school groups couldn't fundraise by working the table at the mall.

5.     Holiday Decorations

Nothing beats a paper skeleton on the front door during Halloween.  And come Easter, there are paper shapes in the window depicting colorful eggs and baby chicks.  Without them, windows would most likely be empty or filled with two-foot high animatronic bunny rabbits that would scare everyone.  I know I was creepyed out by the moving Santa  my mom put up for Christmas.