Coming clean on our waste
October 22, 2008 3:45 PM
Recently the conversation in the newsroom turned to whether [X]Press could go exclusively online to be more environmently friendly.
We are undoubtedly living in a digital age where the recent trend of ‘going green’ seems to lend itself to promoting new mediums like e-ink and e-readers rather than the seemingly outdated physical newspapers and books. It isn’t that simple.
Despite the fact that a newspaper may only be with its reader for a day, the practice of producing a printed, tangible product is vital to our society and cannot be altered.
Not everyone is online, and providing equal access to information is a key part of fulfilling what many in the journalism field feel is our role in democracy. Fewer than half of those age 18 and older who make less than $30,000 a year have access the Internet, according to a 2006 US Census Bureau survey. There is also a marked drop in use for the 65 and older set: only 35 percent of those Americans regularly use the Web. Financial and age factors should not bar someone from readingcoverage of current events.
While professors may choose to post their syllabi on the Web as a paperless alternative, newspapers have a sense of legitimacy and accountability because they are a product that readers can hold and examine. This is a feeling that purely digital material is not yet able to convey.
This does not mean, as an industry, we can ignore our social responsibility. Newspapers can print on 40 to 100 percent recycled content depending on where the paper comes from, according to Ed Tervol, vice president of Southwest Offset Printing. [X]press usually prints on 40 percent recycled paper, he said.
[X]press makes it a point to recycle extra copies each week. It is the nature of the beast that paper products become waste. However, it is after change in definition that we can be a help to the environment.
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