I’m a day late this week again for Change the World Wednesday, just so busy outdoors the computer is forgotten. I know the cold weather will soon be upon us so I’m trying to enjoy each nice moment left. This weeks challenge while not difficult for any of us to do, it does take a few moments of our time and a change in our mindset. What is the challenge this week at Reduce Footprints? Taking a closer look at paper in the form of magazines and junk mail.
Cancel magazine subscriptions, Instead, read magazines online or at the library. have any old publications sitting around your home? Donate them to libraries, medical/dental offices, or recycle them.
If you don’t subscribe to any publications, get your name off catalog and junk mail lists. Contact companies and ask that they remove your name from their mailing list or ADD your name to their “do not mail” list (whichever they use).
This challenge, a couple of years ago was very hard for me. I grew up with a daily newspaper and several magazine subscriptions for the household. It was important to be well-read and to always have something available to read. We even had a rotation for certain reading material. The afternoon newspaper was not read by anyone until my grandfather read it. The paper was placed at his spot at the kitchen table to read while dinner was being prepared, after that the fastest reader (me) and finally my grandmother who then had plenty of time to read it at her leisure. All reading material was shared by everyone in the family and left out for friends and other guests to read as well.
As an adult I would subscribe to a couple of magazines a year, and one or two for my children based on their interests or hobbies. Once I was able to work from home I began a leisurely routine whereby I had a cup of tea (or hot cocoa) with my morning newspaper, when finished it was time to get on with my day.
Then I realized the destruction I was doing to the planet with my subscriptions and other reading. I stopped my quite expensive habit of buying new books and began to get all my books from either the library or from used sources. I stopped the newspaper and magazines, reading them online for the most part (or checking the local library).
It was very hard to change a habit which was encouraged and supported from a very young age, but it was important to be to eliminate these from my life. it took a long time to find a morning routine that replaced the newspaper, but i did. It was sad not receiving my favorite magazines in the mail, but that too was halted. I am not deprived, because I have one thing I didn’t have before….the internet.
Paper Facts, Did you know?
- 500,000 trees are cut down to produce each week’s Sunday newspaper.
- Recycling a single run of the Sunday edition of the New York Times would save 75,000 trees.
- approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away each year.
- Each ton (2,000 pounds) of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatts of energy, and 7,000 gallons of water
- Learn more facts by visiting How Many Are there
Buying a magazine or newspaper we don’t even come close to paying the full price of the environmental costs associated with producing our reading material.
Stop the Junk mail
The average American tosses out 13,000 separate pieces of paper each year, the vast majority of which comes from junk mail. That averages out to 35 pieces of paper per day, every day of the year. That’s a lot of paper and much of it we don’t want. It isn’t easy to get your name off mailing lists, but it can be done.
I live in the suburbs, not much is available here, unless you are willing to settle for Walmart. I don’t buy much but when I do I shop online. Most of what I buy comes from Etsy, or Amazon. With Amazon you may have to reset your preferences to stop unwanted email advertising but you won’t receive a catalog from them. If you choose to order from a company which does have a catalog, you can request your name not be added to their mailing lists or sold In time by being careful about where you give your business and being firm about not wanting to receive mail you can stop 99% of all junk mail. Red Plum flyers are the bane of my existence as there is no way I have found to stop them.
Other ways of reducing your mail and as a result the amount of paper which comes into your home are:
- Take store flyers back to the store. I’ve dropped red plum flyers off to the local grocery store with their ads. If enough people do this the store will quit advertising with Red Plum.
- Opt for online billing, all statements will be online and no paper bill will arrive in your mailbox, it’s safer as well for bank statements and other sensitive financial matters.
- After repeated calls to the local utility companies requesting they stop adding other advertising flyers in with the monthly bill, my grandfather began sending not only those pieces of paper back with his payment, but any other junk mail he received that would not exceed the weight limit for a first class postage stamp. When that didn’t stop them from including junk mail with his bill, he began to stuff all his junk mail into their over night drop box for bills. He always asked them how they liked getting mail they didn’t want.
- Visit Reduce Footprints to learn how to opt out of junk mail.
Next time you carry a magazine in from your mailbox, pick up a newspaper or even that magazine at the checkout, remember, it’s not just the that a tree was cut down for this paper, but oil and water were used in the process of manufacturing that paper, toxic dyes were used to print on the paper, and we are sacrificing cleaner air.
Can you give up your paper subscriptions?