Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Newspaper Test

Well, I did it. I have been thinking of changing to an e-edition only subscription for the newspaper for some time, but honestly, change is hard.

I tend to go for days sometimes without reading the paper and then have to catch up. In the meantime, I have all of these papers laying around the house. Then I have piles of newspapers sitting around until I get around to taking them to a recycle bin. They can go into the compost bin for the city, but I have so much other compostable material to put in the bin, I have kept the papers separately. Anyway, I was looking around my house the other day and noticing how many newspapers were laying around cluttering up the place and said, "now's the time." I immediately called the circulation department and changed my subscription to eliminate the paper delivery before I had a chance to waffle again. After all, if I decide I hate it, I can change back. Now I don't have to remember to stop delivery when I am out of town.

On average, a daily newspaper uses 550 lbs of paper per year. Although most newspaper in the US is now recycled and the ink has been changed to soy-based inks, there is still a lot of water and energy put into the production of newspaper. Much of newsprint contains a high proportion of recycled content. According to the EPA recycling paper uses 50% less water and causes 74% less air pollution than making the paper new. However, when you get down to it, using no paper causes no pollution and uses no water. So environmentally, it makes sense to switch to a no-paper option.

However, when I posted the switch to my Facebook page, even my environmentally conscious friends said they thought it was a bad idea. The arguments were that reading the paper at breakfast was a tradition, and I would read less of the paper on line. I admit, I like to sit and read the paper, but I am not sure it matters whether it is online or in print. And I definitely won't miss the black fingers.

I had much the same trepidation when my husband bought me an e-reader for my birthday. I like the feel of a book in my hand and wasn't sure I would like the reader. However, I do. I still like my paper books, but I can carry the e-reader in my purse. I have over 100 books on it. I can make the font bigger to help my eyes (and that is becoming a bigger deal by the day). So I am getting used to it. I haven't quit reading regular books though. I can still buy a used book for less than I can purchase the e-books and as much as I read, that is not to be sneezed at. However, I can also download many classics from the Google library for free.

So, we'll see how the experiment goes. Can an old dog learn new tricks? I think so. I'll report back in a few weeks.

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