Sunday, January 31, 2016

Newspaper Waste Elimination & Improvement

I'm a strong supporter of local news organizations -- they are critical for a community. However after a lifetime of enjoying a printed newspaper, I've kicked the paper habit. We no longer have a paper newspaper delivered along with its rubber band and (often) plastic bag.

Instead I now get an electronic edition on my Apple iPad each morning. The delivery interface has improved tremendously from the early days of e-publishing, it was a surprisingly pleasant switch.  I really like the interface to the newspaper on my iPad:


  1. can still skim/see the whole page and its context (the resolution on the iPad is much better than the picture above),
  2. tap on an article to read it in a bigger/easier/clearer font,
  3. can zoom into pictures,
  4. navigate easily and quickly to links,
  5. quickly get to past editions as well as other Bay Area Newsgroup papers,
  6. no longer need to worry about non-delivery of papers (happens a few times a year),
  7. can now have the computer search for me instead of having to flip pages,
  8. and more...
This has been a win all around for me although old habits die hard.

Waste reduction summary:
  1. Matter (material):
    1. Replaced paper, rubber band, and plastic with electrons. Significant reduction in what previously needed to be transported and recycled.
  2. Energy
    1. Big win. Electrons are cheap to deliver.
  3. Time
    1. Big win. Don't need to go out to driveway to retrieve, call if it got lost, or suspend when we go on trips. Can get it on iPad or computer wherever I am if I want it.
  4. Space
    1. Big win. iPad is very compact, newspapers took up space inside and in recycling bin.
  5. Money
    1. Big win. Cost for the electronic edition is about one third the cost of the print edition. I already owned the iPad for other reasons.
  6. Environment/Health/Life
    1. Big win. No longer killing as many trees, recycling still has an environmental toll. Rubber bands can be reused but need to find someone who needs them. I usually gave them back to my paper delivery person which took some time and money to do. Eliminating the need for plastic bags is huge. Plastic survives hundreds of years and is poisoning our ocean and land as well as people as it comes back around in our food chain.


Howard Baldwin - Columnist said...

Switching the paper version for an online newspaper version works great for some people, but not everyone. I would do it except for three problems: I can't do the puzzles online; I would have to get a second expensive tablet for my wife; and my wife is a techno-phobe. Paper (both with books and newspapers) can be shared -- that's a kind of reuse too.

Tim Oey said...

Yes multiple readers is good reuse. Also that is a good point about doing puzzles online -- hopefully someone will fix that. You could print out just the puzzle onto paper but that is an extra step. As far as sharing, tablets can be shared too :-) At any rate, my wife rarely reads the paper so we don't conflict there. The SJ Mercury E-Edition newspaper app is super easy to use. And sending others clips of single articles or multiple pages as PDFs is easy as well. I've even archived entire issues at times to remember a particular event. It was tough for me to switch but now that I've done it, it is working very well.