Monday, June 25, 2007

Day Five - Unsubscribe Me


I like reading the Sunday paper. I clip my coupons, read the comics to my son (his favorite is Snoopy) check out "Ask Marilyn" in Parade and peruse the real estate section to see how the housing market is doing. I'm also a big fan of "Dear Abby" and "Miss Manners" and the guy that writes local horticulture articles. I've been a Sunday-paper-reader since I was a kid and I don't think that's going to change. But here's what is:

I also recieve the "Weekend Special" which means I get the Friday and Saturday papers. From this, the only thing I read (when I have time) is "Dear Abby" and "Miss Manners". Usually I don't even have time for that, and the paper gets removed from it's non-biodegradable, plastic bag and tossed directly into the recycle pile. "But Erin, then why did you sign up for the Weekend Special?" you ask... because it was FREE. That's right - absolutely free. They called about two months ago and said, "Hey, we'll up your subscription to three days and you don't even have to pay for it! It's totally FREE for the next six months". WOWEE! FREE NEWS! How could I turn that down?!?!

I did a little research into how newspapers are made and you'll be very unsurprised to learn that they are made from recycled newspapers and trees. No big news there. But when I dug just a big deeper I learned a little more.

For instance, did you know that you can't recycle a piece of paper indefinitely? Waste paper can only be recycled about five to ten times before it degrades to an unusable state. We cannot go on recycling the same piece of paper forever, because the fibres break down and cannot form a strong enough “web” to make paper. Therefore, new pulp (trees) must be added to the batch every time.
Besides, it's much better to REDUCE my consumption than to RECYCLE the paper. (Those three R's are in that order for a reason, you know!). After all, it does take ENERGY to recycle the paper and since Plus, I don't want those plastic bags the paper is wrapped in either because those DON'T get recycled (at least not where I live).

Well, I gave them a call today and asked them to stop sending it. They were awesome about -- no guilt involved, no strings attached, just "ok, we'll do that". This simply could not have been easier. Let's see what I saved:


That's two papers per week, or 104 papers per year. It takes, on average, one tree to make 754 newspapers (you can see where I get these numbers from here). I just saved 1/7th (13.79%) of a tree! Plus I saved 104 plastic bags, the ink used on the paper & trees, the energy and water used to produce them, etc. -- you see where I'm going here. Just imagine if only half the American population stopped buying two weekday papers each week. That would be 21,428,571 trees saved each year.


The phone call took about 4 minutes and it's all over with. I also asked them to place me on their "Do Not Call With More Offers Like This One" list, but we'll see if that happens.


Gary M. Comins said...

Just and FYI --- I saw an article on a new type of paper that only maintains it's writing for so many days. Then it looks like a brand new sheet of paper. The potential to reduce office expenses is outstanding. I'll see if I can find and forward the article for you.

Anonymous said...

Those plastic newspaper bags have always bothered me that they're not recyclable.

So at my house we...

- fill them with sand and use them as sandbags during the rainy season to keep the porch from flooding (or other areas)

- use them instead of brown paper bags for lunch. you'd be surprised how well a sandwich, drink, and snack fits into the tube shape.

- I work at a plant nursery, and I take a bunch of them up there because they fit perfectly around the bottom of a 1 gallon pot, which customers always ask for so they don't get dirt/water in their car. Saves a big sheet of plastic.