With the recent announcements from both Murdoch and Packer camps about charging for Web content, it looks as if print is finally conceding defeat to online media. I’m sure there are folks out there who count this as a triumph for the environment, but ironically, reading news on the Internet may not be as eco-friendly as they think; the environmental cost of making the computer plus the electricity required to run it probably far outweighs the impact of cutting down a few trees (which are renewable anyway). However, far be it for me – a geek – to harp on too much about the ills of the Internet, so let’s get back to bashing the amount of paper waste that is produced on a daily basis by the news :-)
On an average day, I might read about 15% of the Sydney Morning Herald so in a sense, 85% of that printed material is going to waste. I’m pretty sure very few people will read the paper cover-to-cover, classifieds and all, which makes it conceivable that a large amount of wood pulp and ink are being consumed for nothing. Notch that one up as a win for the Internet, where what you don’t read, you don’t click.
After I’m done reading a paper, it will of course go into the recycling. But on the odd occasion we’ll also use them to wrap vegies for storing in the fridge, and cleaning windows (non-colour newsprint is great for soaking up window grease). OK, so you can’t do that with the Web. Even Stevens.
Jenny used to bring the paper home from work, so while I’d always get the news late I still got the satisfaction from doing a teeny-weeny bit for the environment. But now that that her works has stopped getting the paper, my source has been cut off and I’ve simply stopped reading news. I don’t think I miss it, so maybe that’s the most efficient method of all… overall winner: me.