First, I want to have a word with you sinners about your cellulose. The only unquestionably justifiable cellulose consumption is the fiber in your celery and cereal and such. As for your magazine subscriptions...over that, you should feel a bit guilty. Its hard to get away from the tide of dead trees that comes sluicing at you through your mail box, I know.
But I have whittled away at the stream with some success so let me give a few pointers.
- Get a post office box. That way the spot where you receive junk mail is two paces from the location of a commodious paper recycle bin that someone else must empty.
- Do not become interested in publications that have no on-line presence or edition. Just don't, its not fashionable.
- To wean yourself from the ink-on-paper love affair most of us have indulged since our 1st grade teachers beat the reverence for the printed word into our skulls, buy a gorgeous hi-res flat screen monitor. Locate it where there is no glare.
- Let all your paper subscriptions lapse. Its true that the volume of renewal notices will initially match the tonnage of the periodicals you were taking but trust me: it tapers off after a few years. Subscribe to the online editions of things. After all, you aren't still getting your porn through the US Mail are you?
- Install a bidet [we will be revisiting that T-paperless aspect of green style in a later post]
- Make paper recycling easy for yourself. Have receptacles handy indoors and huge outdoors to avoid the inevitable bouts of inertia that cause you to toss paper in the trash out of laziness or because the bin is overflowing.
- Bring your own reusable cloth shopping bags to the grocery...or any...store. Damp produce that must go in a plastic bag gives you an opportunity to reuse the bag as a trash can liner.
- Your xmas cards could be e-mails, your bar mitzvah, wedding etc. invitations could be evites or your own tasteful PHP/mySQL app if you are handy. No more "we didn't get it, it must have been lost in the mail". You were keeping BOTH address books up to date weren't you? People who won't give you an email addy will just have to phone you once in a while to find out whats going on...drop 'em.
- The best of paper is the worst of paper: unglossy newsprint B&W with soy ink can be used in your wood stove. All that other chemically altered, clay filled crap really is a disposal problem.
On line editions are down loadable to that empty 250 Gbyte hard drive and they are searchable, even the PDFs. I have 30 year old stacks of Scientific American in the basement slowly turning into nests for rodents and I can never find the articles I vaguely remember to be in those stacks.
The bidet pictured was bought second hand from a plumber and, installation included, cost us less than $500 in 2006 dollars because it went in to new construction, by design. New appliances retrofitted would set you back closer to $2000 and up.
The ICS is down to four hard copy subscriptions, one purposely taken for its value as kindling, the others: Wired, Nutrition Action and Tikkun. Plenty of other stuff does show up unsolicited. As each comes up for renewal, we will elect to take the online versions. I have begged for AAAS to deal with me only in bytes but that Science subscription just seems stuck in reverse at PAPER. Scientific American and Nature, quite graciously switched over. I am burning my collection to CD...heirloom stuff, I tell ya. Wired editorial in this month's edition:
...we discovered the WIRED Uncertainty Principle: Some of you hate uncertainty! We tell you what we don't know, and you answer "God" And then you ask why we left the Big Guy out. We had to. Whether a supreme being exists or not, invoking one to answer a question extinguishes inquiry.How cool is that? I can't let that subscription lapse but I am simply not taking it on dead trees: much more than the carbon in the copy is at stake in decreasing the volume of the paper stream. Now WIRED is a great mag to leave on your coffee table, casually opened to the editorial page. I will just print that one page, in large font to catch the visitor's eye. The ICS has this silly idea that coffee tables really ought to have room for coffee.