It is all the fault of the Belgians (and other foreigners)

A story in the Daily Mail on 27th September 2012 shows exactly what our problem with paper is.

The story begins, and throughout this I quote exactly from the Daily Mail,

“These days we communicate most of the time by email and text, receive statements online and fax machines are already a thing of the past – yet global paper consumption since 1980 has gone up by almost half.

“The worst offenders are the Belgians, with the equivalent of 8.51 40-foot trees worth of paper being consumed by each member of the population per year, according to The Economist.”

Just notice how the word “offenders” is slipped in here.  There is no indication that any offence has been committed or that anything is being done wrong. But suddenly Belgium is accused of a non-existent crime.

(I must say I find this strange – I was in Antwerp for a week recently and it was a most wonderful place – with no noticeable excess of paper usage at all.)

The Mail continues, “The magazine points out, however, that its position at the top of the tree-consumption tree is partly down to the EU headquarters being there, which prints vast amounts of paperwork in countless languages.”

So the Mail can now get in its double hit – not just those boring Belgians but we can see the true enemy – the EU – the bête noir of the Mail.

”The No 2 spot is filled by Finland, which apparently does convert a lot of its paper into domestic packaging, thereby distorting its tree consumption.”   Note “apparently” – suddenly the research is reduced to assumption – but who cares – let’s have a go at Finland.

“The top next three worst offenders are Germany, Japan and Sweden – despite all three having technology-driven economies.”

So we are back to an offence – a non-defined offence at that.  And it continues (noting in passing that it is all the fault of these evil foreigners),

“The rest of the top 10 is made up of the U.S, Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands, South Korea and Canada.

“The UK comes in at No 11, with each member of society using the equivalent of 4.48 trees.   Next in the chart comes France, Spain, Portugla, Ireland and China, which only uses 1.81 trees per person.”

(Actually that mis-writing of Portugal is the Mail, not me, I have been printing this exactly as written.)

“Azerbaijan is the most tree-friendly nation, with only 0.16 trees per person being used each year.

“Paper recycling is certainly something that the UK population feels strongly about with a marked increase in the amount recovered per household since 1997.”

So, there we have it.  Evil foreigners and the EU in particular.  Good old democratic Azerbaijan is the goodie in all this.

Still, at least the Mail does allow people to write back in with their comments. Here is just one…

“This story just perpetuates the myth that paper is “evil” when it is not. It is a crop like any other and is replenished. Rain forests are cut down for living space and have nothing to do with paper production. The paper industry gives people work and supplies us all with beautiful objects; real books that we can put on shelves rather than computer files that we store on eGadgets.”

It is indeed just so. The EU is self-sufficient in paper, and our society needs paper.  As long as more trees are planted than are cut down for paper use we are ok environmentally, and that is exactly what happens.

We have paper, and we store paper.  In fact a lot of paper gets stored with us.  If you have paper that you need storing do call.  And you won’t find a copy of the Daily Mail anywhere near the place.

You can find more information on our storage facilities at

Alternatively give us a call on 0800 783 9516.

Uncertainty lost; your boxes found.

There is an app that is available on a number of phones which comes out with random instructions for people to undertake.  Things like, “follow the third stranger you pass,” or “step in every puddle you find”.  Or, “stop the next person you see wearing red and ask him/her the name of the city you are in”.

The apps also sometimes come with maps, which are themselves used to send the user off in random directions.

Behind this is the notion that we are currently being optimised to within an inch of our lives. The right books, the right CDs, the right mate – everything is chosen for us. Randomness is on a losing wicket.

This is very much a case of randomness losing out.  In fact, when the random events hits our consciousness we are taken aback that such a thing could happen in such an organised age.  The flood, the famine, the drought, the collapse of a building – we still share in our horror and sympathy for those caught up in the disaster.

But equally, we are just bemused that somehow the organisation that surrounds our lives has broken down.

And I have to admit that I am part of that organisation. I help people to organise things so that when they put them in my storage facility at Admiral they can be assured that upon their return, not only will the stored items still be there, but they will be in the place where the customer expects them to be.

I find this final element in the assurance a crucial one.  Most people realise that when they put items in storage it may be some time before want them again.  So a proper indexing system is needed.

That is quite right and proper.  But what is interesting is that research shows that although we try to remove the unexpected from our lives, when we do find something unexpected happening we respond in an emotional way. 

Put another way, there is a certain argument that says, “keeping the uncertainty in life is beneficial”.

Now, just in case you are already an Admiral customer, I want to assure you at this point that I am not about to sneak into the storage facility and start moving things around.  So you don’t have to start worrying about possible outcomes that might occur next time you come to Admiral to look at something you have stored.

No, everything will be there exactly as you stored it.

There is more information on our storage facility on our website –

Where is the best place to house your collection?

Serious collectors not only add to their collection, they have some of it on display. 

But collections can take up a lot of space, which often means that only a tiny proportion of the collection can be put on display at any one time.

Which in turn leads to a problem.

Supposing you have a collection of, say, newspaper cuttings, stamps, first editions of books, or indeed anything else that is paper based.

If you have a lot of space in your house then there’s no problem: you’ll have a room or two where the materials can be housed.

But even then there is a problem: the potential for damage through fire or flood, for example.

It is for this reason that many serious collectors keep part of their collections in a storage facility.  The prize items might well still be on display in the family home, but the background items – those only looked at occasionally – can be housed quite separately.  Then in the event of a tragedy at least one part of the collection will be saved.

I personally have a collection of football programmes.  It is not a collection that would be renowned throughout the world, but it does include a few very rare items, and even (I suspect although I have never fully checked) a handful of programmes for which I have the only extant edition.

However, I examine the collection rarely, normally only returning to it when I am writing a book on the subject of football. So for most of the time the collection can be kept out of the way.

Which is where a storage facility comes in.  By placing the programmes in a facility, and having a good log of which programme is where, I am easily able to find the ones I need for each new project.  The rest stay in their storage compartment, all kept in good condition at the right temperature.

So, I hear you ask, what have you recently dug out of your archive?  The answer is the 1963 programmes of the London football club, Arsenal.

The reason for this is simple – 1963 was the 50th anniversary of Arsenal at their ground in Highbury, north London.  In one of the programmes for that season they reproduced the programme of the very first match at Highbury in September 1913, and that was what I was seeking.

So there we are: whatever your collection, if space is limited and you are concerned about the well-being of the items you collect, using a storage facility can be an ideal solution.

If you would like to know more about how Admiral stores items, please do call us on 0800 783 9516.

Alternatively there is more information on our website.