The traditional newspaper is in decline – in more ways than one!
We entirely recognise the value of reading, and that newspapers have a role to play in many countries where internet access is more limited or restricted, and in providing a different perspective than that of social media and internet news sites.
However we question the need to have newspapers delivered to individual houses on a daily basis.
In most cases, newspapers are not read cover to cover, and of course they are delivering yesterday’s news … or even the day before’s news!
So for todays action, if you have newspapers delivered to your door, please try and reduce the amount that you consume. Yes, we know newspapers can be recycled into new newspapers, but they still present a number of environmental problems.
- recycling rates are only around 64% (https://colors-newyork.com/what-percentage-of-paper-is-recycled/) in the USA and will be far less than this on average globally
- therefore newspapers are still contributing millions of tons of waste to landfill and incineration
- paper is an extremely carbon, water and energy intensive product to produce
- even recycled paper is very energy intensive
- paper production also involves chemicals and bleaches
- newspapers are heavy; flying, moving them by rail, or trucking them around the country results in even more fossil fuel use, pollution, and carbon emissions
- there is little or no justification for the destruction of trees, essential carbon sinks, to produce daily newspapers
What you can do
There are a number of measures you can take to reduce the consumption of newspapers:
- if you have more than one paper delivered each day, cancel all bar one
- consider whether you need one EVERY day – alternate days might suffice
- weekend newspapers usually provide more variety of reading, and journalists have had more time to research their stories. Therefore they tend to provide more in depth and better balanced comment, coverage and narrative. Why not drop the weekday tabloids and take a Saturday and/or Sunday paper instead, giving you enough reading material for the coming week?
- share newspapers with other members of the family, or even neighbours
- check into some key internet news sites instead. If you are familiar with social media, RSS feeds, and the like, you can personalise your news feeds to cover the topics you care about most
- consider a weekly news summary magazine (such as The Week, for example, or the equivalent in your country) instead of a daily
Finally, of course, always put your newspapers in the paper recycling system, and cancel newspaper deliveries when you are away.
Why should I do this?
By taking this action collectively we can:
- reduce consumption of trees used to make paper
- reduce our carbon emissions
- reduce the use of fossil fuels
- reduce the pollution associated with the manufacture of paper, the printing process, and distribution of newspapers
- save money
- instead, get access to a wider perspective on the news
Please think through how much you really need a daily paper … can you reduce the deliveries you receive?