Dear Science

Which Is the Greener Stranger, Online or Print?


So The Stranger has no remorse about continuing to print 80,000 copies a week of a free newspaper?

Do you guys hate the environment that much?

Weren't you all (at least ECB) big proponents of the paper bag fee?

What's the difference?

How is it responsible to use all that paper and not do anything to encourage responsibility?

Wouldn't charging a nominal fee cut down on waste? Even 25 cents would eliminate all the copies that get picked up and never read, or the copies that get read for 2 seconds and then trashed - littering streets and the establishments that hand it out (many of which do not recycle, nevermind your readers).

40% virgin pulp and I'm sure a decent chunk is never recycled. All to support a dying medium.

It's shameful you don't do a tiny bit to cut down on waste and keep Seattle green. Charge a quarter. Anyone who is a "true" reader, ie, worth it to an advertiser anyway, would still pick it up.

@FNABFTE: "Free" newspapers aren't free; they're paid for by advertising revenue. Charging money for the print version would complicate matters (suddenly every library, cafe and bookstore who carries the Stranger would have to keep an eye on the newspaper stand in the corner; free boxes would all have to be retrofitted with coin slots and armoured against theft) and probably wouldn't bring in nearly as much revenue as the ads already do.
Just like "free" paper bags at the grocery store aren't free; they're paid for by shoppers.

We all read again and again on SLOG how evil free paper bags are.

But The Stranger itself operates in a way that encourages a ton (or, 15 tons) of waste each week.

And that's OK.

Charging a quarter for a newspaper can be done. I think I've seen it done somewhere.

It's hypocritical to print 80000 free copies per week and then whine about how other businesses in the city are bad for the environment.
FNABFTE - don't you mean plastic bags?
also FNABFTE, what's your stand on cheeseburgers?
khartoum, paper bags are banned too.

Rationalizing wasting 15 tons of paper each week by drawing comparisons to cheeseburgers doesn't make any sense.

Especially in a so-called 'science' column it is downright insulting, intellectually.

But even accepting the comparison, it's not right to assume each printed copy is read. That's my point. So it should be two years of newspaper PRINTING not reading. If one in ten copies are actually read in a meaningful way (hey, it's free), a cheeseburger is only equal to about two and a half months of Stranger reading.
I actually return my free weeklies (CityPaper and Philadelphia Weekly) to their stands after I'm done so someone else can enjoy them.
Of course I make an effort to patronise the businesses who's advertisements support those papers.

Dave in Philadelphia, Pa
FNABTFE - I'm already on your insultometor? "A cheeseburger is only equal to about two and a half months of Stranger reading" seems damning enough of a fraction of a single meal, in spite of the recalculations you undermine the Dear Scientist with.
FNABFTE: I assume you don't use paper to wipe your ass either right? I mean, how could any of us be so wasteful as to actually USE the resources bestowed upon us for something as terribly evil and earth-destroying as reading a newspaper!

I assume, also, that you're reading/posting right now on a computer powered by a bicycle right? And whenever you get take-out you bring your own re-useable dishes for them to put the food in, don't you?

..Paper is a commodity, just like potatoes. If the demand goes up, tree farms plant more trees. We eat a billion french fries every day and we're not runnin out of potatoes, get it?
devon I believe the point is that we don't want to see SLOG post ever ever again about why free paper bags at the grocery store are evil and deserve to be outlawed.

If we want paper bags we will simply plant more trees. So I don't see the problem either.
Debating this is just increasing carbon emissions. Are your egos more important than the planet?

(I wrote this on an efficient PC powered entirely by hamsters.)
I would power my computer likewise, but my hamsters are all busy burrowing in my ahole.

Did FNABTFE really just say that something in the DS/SLOG was intellectually insulting? Have you been here before? Nothing against my fellow sloggers, but I think you may be taking yourself a little too seriously and may need to borrow my hamsters for some relief. Seriously, hamsters are now the leading saviors of the environment- providing energy for Coljack's computer and lessening my need to view carbon-emission-producing online porn, although that is really only necessary for 20-30 seconds anyway.
You said emission. Porn... emission... ha... ha... hamster... emission... ha...
I thought the question asker was reading a paper in a coffee shop, where several people would also read it; that would considerably reduce the carbon footprint per reader.

Are you guys going to sue The Stranger?
stop pointing fingers and do your own part.
Your numbers don't add up.
12.5kwH are worth more than 1$, and a gigabyte is worth less than a cent these days.
Manufacturing the paper is actually a very energy-wasteful process that uses lots of dangerous chemicals, and printing is not free either.
And the people that deliver it are the worst offenders of all, having a carbon print in kilograms per day.

I don't think the comparison of reading the printed stranger to using paper bags at the grocer is fair. we can easily eliminate the use of paper and plastic bags with cloth, and our only inconvenience is remembering to bring the cloth bags, but if the stranger stops printing newspapers, we stranger-nerds will have nothing to whine about cause they will likely go out of business, and some other evil-doer will pick up the slack and print free newspapers.

When the public demand for printed paper declines far enough, the stranger (and other papers) will then only produce content online.

As far as paper and plastic bags are concerned, if we raise the cost of them, the lazy public will soon remember to bring their reusable cloth bags with very little inconvenience.

So in the end this is an opportunity-cost issue, and i think everyones choice (at least on this website) would be to continue to print this newspaper and have to remember a cloth bag.
It's my understanding that paper companies use farmed paper. That is, they have huge farms of paper that they cut down, replant, let grow, cut down, replant, etc. The net effect will end up bieng virtually zero with regards to overall forestry.
for sure the stranger should try to get the post consumer recycled % higher. And for sure, the true environmental impact of the paper's production was undercalculated (chemicals, inks, landfilled garbage when disposed) BUT there is also a tremendous environmental value for a community that has easy, free access to progressive community information. Think of the "trickle down" (or trickle up) effects when people care about their communities, debate and discuss issues and solutions, vote for mass transit and against plastic bags, etc. Worth considering in the equation....