This week’s editorial finds us at the Telegraph
with something weighing
heavily on our hearts. As much as we were saddened by
the recent departure of Bob Hope, there is something of
even more grave concern bothering us. Something that strikes
at the very core of our being.
See, as well meaning as we try to be, it was recently
brought to our attention that not everyone out there is
so fond of our endeavors. That’s right. Like oil
tanker drivers, seal pup hunters and rain forest loggers,
we have become the target of environmentalists. And it’s
all because innocent trees were killed to produce this
paper. OK, maybe that’s not exactly true. It would
be more correct to say innocent trees were killed to make
the paper that was used to make this paper, but you get
There, we said it.
It’s not that we thought you wouldn’t notice
the correlation between us and the tree thing eventually.
We just thought you’d rather hear it from us first.
The decision to come clean was arrived at when, in doing
research on a local music festival for a story (appearing
in our paper curiously enough), we came across the embarrassing
fact that this festival was a means to raise awareness
for the wastefulness of the newspaper industry. The group
isn’t against newspapers per se, just papers that
print more than they need. As a result, it’s pushing
for legislation that would require news organizations
to print only as many papers as paid subscribers they
have. The paid subscriber is not exactly the best friend
of a free distribution weekly.
So in a panicked effort to save our asses, we conveniently
left this small factoid out of the festival story (which
incidentally we ran since we love irony). I justified
the decision based on the reasoning that mentioning this
tidbit would only take up more precious space, thus wasting
more trees and defeating the group’s noble effort.
OK, I know two wrongs don’t make a right. It’s
just that it’s a touchy subject. First there was
the threat of the Internet killing us; then there was
the suggestion from one of my detractors a few months
back that we print on bathroom tissue so our paper had
some usefulness. And now this. Dissension in our own ranks.
I say this because, although I do partake in the occasional
fossil fuel, meat product and leather fashion accessory,
for the most part I try to live as ecologically frugally
as possible. Those who have frequented our office are
probably familiar with my maniacal recycling obsession.
All paper goes through the printer at least twice; the
bathroom has cloth towels; all manila envelopes are set
aside for another go around in the postal system; the
newspaper is mocked up on a dry-erase board; there is
a bin for recycling cans and bottles (which has been the
scene of more than one
stubbed toe); each desk is equipped with a box into which
go all forms of paper, from newsprint to the small, annoying
slips of recycled paper that we use as a primitive form
of interoffice communications; and I like to sit in the
dark a lot. I’ve been stockpiling used CDs in hopes
that some day I’ll stumble upon a practical re-use
for them. Hell, my dog even drinks out of the toilet –
doesn’t that count for something? And although I
do like to joke that I throw them off the high bridge
at the end of the week, we do recycle our returns.
But this doesn’t excuse the fact that, occasionally,
one gets way from us. So, in an effort to clear our good
name with our environmentally conscientious readers, I
would like to reiterate that we are and always have been
100 percent printed on 100 percent recycled newsprint.
In case this isn’t enough, allow me to present
some more propaganda, er, I mean facts from the Newspaper
Association of America, of which we are not a member,
but it sounds official enough, so they must be right:
- Almost 78 percent of all old newspapers in the United
States were recovered and recycled in 2001, representing
more than 9 million tons out of a total supply of about
11 million tons.
- The average amount of recycled fiber in newsprint
used by U.S. newspapers and other newsprint consumers
has increased from 10 percent in 1989 to more than 28
- Market forces also have recycled newspapers into
cereal boxes, egg cartons, pencil barrels, grocery bags,
cellulose insulation materials, tissue paper, bedding
for farm animals, kitty litter, building materials and
many more diverse products.
- Of the more than 9 million tons of old newspapers
recycled in 2001, more than 38 percent was turned into
new newsprint; the rest was exported to Canada, primarily
for the production of newsprint or recycled into other
useful products (see above.)
Also from the folks at the Publisher’s National
(OK, so they’re Australian, same dif):
- Newspaper and magazine inks contain vegetable oils
such as soy or non-hazardous mineral oils which are
recycled to make
great soil conditioners. Farmers seek the dried ink/fiber
the de-inking process.
- Only forest thinnings of trees grown for housing
timber, as well as sawmill waste, is used in newsprint
- De-inking newspapers and recycling the fiber into
16 percent less energy than making newsprint out of
- Old newspapers also can be used to clean windows,
cages and as garden mulch.
So go ahead, read with confidence, knowing that this
paper has barely begun to live its fruitful and purposeful
existence. And when you’re done, give it to the
guy next to you; wash some windows; wrap up a dead fish;
fashion it into a nifty sailor hat; make some origami;
or, as mentioned earlier, keep it by the commode. Just
remember, we cannot be held liable for any paper cuts.
– Missy Votel