I’m getting married this summer at the end of July. Over the past two months since my engagement, I have been inundated with countless magazines, emails, phone calls and postcards from companies starving for business in the current economy.
Everyone wants my business. When one corporation, small business or person found out I had said “yes,” the flood of information began.
As my roommates and I sat picking our way through massive piles of bridal magazines one weekend, my heart sank. Here I was, a reporter and blogger for an online environmental publication, and the waste and senseless excess I rant against weekly lay in my lap in the form of a 300-page magazine.
I just looked through that stack of magazines again. I counted about 10,000 sheets of glossy pieces of paper total. Up until the last few years, the glossy paper of magazines could not be recycled and ended up in landfills across the country. That has changed, but the habits of Americans have not. According to the Magazine Publishers of America only 20 percent of magazines are recycled today. The rest end up in the trash.
But most magazines can be recycled to make tissue paper and other paper products like cardboard or even other magazines.
As our country moves into a new age of environmental awareness, will the excess waste of magazines and other large publications go to the wayside? Will Americans begin to recycle their Time and Sports Illustrated magazines and stop dumping them into landfills?
Each year, every person in the US uses about 650 pounds of paper. That is just the start to the immense amount of waste we produce to rot on our planet. Magazines can be recycled. The message needs to be put out there. At the University of Arizona alone, 3 tons of waterborne waste can be conserved in a year by recycling goods.
Without giving up on our guilty (or not-so-guilty) pleasure of reading magazines, the problem of magazine waste can still be solved. I can read all about the “ten things every bride should have in her wedding,” without the constant nagging feeling that I am causing terror in the environment for the next generations.
Most magazines offer their publications in an online format, which eliminates paper waste with the same stories and photographs. There are even alternative companies that offer full magazine subscriptions in an online reader format.
If you love print advertising or having a magazine in your grasp, rather than reading online, then recycle it when you’re finished, or pass it along to other people to enjoy.
In my house, we have a list of things that can be recycled that hangs by the recycling bin. Magazines are at the very top of the list. One less stack of bridal magazines sinking to the bottom of the ocean or a landfill would probably do a world of good.