Daily Paper Challenge

November 3, 2007

In response to my comment, PlanetTrash has challenged herself to give up her subscription to a daily newspaper in favor of the online version.  If she manages this for a year, she will have saved:

  • 366 (2008=leap year) plastic bags from the landfill
  • $200 in subscription costs
  • having to recycle 71.1 cubic feet of newspaper.  That’s an average 2’x4′ coat closet full-to-the-ceiling of newspaper.
  • maybe $$ from a couple visits to the masseuse?? I know I would need a few if I had to carry that much to the recycling center!

How did I get that paper volume?  Here are my assumptions:
Daily Paper Size= 12.5″ x 23.5″ x 1″ =293.75 in^3 x 314 days = 53.4 cubic feet

Sunday Paper Size=  12.5″ x 23.5″ x 2″ =587.5 in^3 x 52 days = 17.7 cubic feet

I am joining PlanetTrash in her challenge by giving up my campus newspaper.  While the impact will be much less (it’s a free 6-page news), it’s still something, especially since I usually pick it up just to rip out a Sudoku before a boring lecture.  Instead I can invest in a $2 pad of Sudoku puzzles that will take far less paper and can last me through even the longest class.

If you ever wonder about giving up your daily subscription, now is a great time to really consider it.  Even if you recycle, there are still environmental impacts from printing, transport, binding (rubber bands or plastic bags), and the recycling process.  Most papers now offer an online version with all the major articles, and if you’re online enough to be reading this, you probably have time to read your news online as well.   If you’re bound to your circulars, color comics, and garden sections, get a Sunday-only subscription.  You’ll still save around 3/4 of the amounts listed above, and can spend the whole week reading each section thoroughly.

On Monday I’ll explore where online you can find all the parts of your newspaper, from local and national news to the puzzles and comics.



  1. Thanks for the stats on the amount of paper and plastic I’ll be saving over the year. If it’s raining, the newspaper is often wrapped in two bags.

    As an architect, you can make a difference. I know that straw has been considered as insulation in homes. Could recycled paper or plastics be used?

  2. Straw can be found as insulation in SIPs (Structurally Insulated Panels) Bales can also be used as structural or non-structural building materials, although this is more of a niche market.

    Cellulose is a recycled paper insulation that competes with fiberglass batting. It can be installed during or after construction, and contains about 80% recycled paper and 20% chemical additives (for fire protection). Here’s a fact-sheet for more information:

    As far as plastics go, I know there is polystyrene insulation, but I have yet to see anything about it having recycled content.

    I hope once I’m an architect that I can make a difference :), it’s the main reason I chose this profession!

  3. […] November 5th, 2007 in news, sustainability Tags: comics, news, newspaper As a continuation from The Daily Paper Challenge, we’ll be looking today at where you can find all the elements of your standard daily paper […]

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