Thursday, March 27, 2008

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: The Push for a 'Greener' Industry

The Push for a 'Greener' Industry
I have to say that Barnes & Noble's magazine op has been transformed in the last couple of years. At my store at any rate, opened only three or four years ago, they finally figured out that we were throwing away 1,000 mags a week and it is much more rational now. And instead of tearing the covers off and sending the excess mags to landfill, all the chain's leftovers are recycled now.
(Submitted by a 67-year-old wage slave, er, retired author)

The Push for a 'Greener' Industry

Bob, For what it's worth, and there is still no justification for the inefficiency at newsstand, but virtually 100% of unsold copies, returns, are recycled. Most of it ends up in newsprint.
. . . It is just a fact that magazine wholesalers have one of their few profit streams in selling magazine waste to recyclers, so they collect it all. In the SBT study . . . one of wholesalers' concerns about not having to process returns, as a long term result of SBT, was about losing the waste sales. Most indicated they would probably continue to pick up the returns from retailers even if they didn't have to process them at the warehouse.
(Submitted by an Industry Distribution Specialist)

The Push for a 'Greener' Industry
Same stuff as the Sierra Club who claims to be green, only problem is, their mass direct mail programs are not exactly green.
(Submitted by a Paper Person)

The Push for a 'Greener' Industry
As an environmentalist . . . , it pains me to say that the Evil Empire (Time) "gets it" when it comes to the environmental impact of paper and that the environmental groups generally do not get it. Using recycled fiber in magazine paper does not save trees, it just diverts that fiber from other (often more efficient) uses. In environmental parlance, it has no "additionality". Using post-consumer recycled fiber back in the 1970s meant something because it was important to create more of a market for that fiber. But now there is plenty of demand for post-consumer fiber -- more than can be fulfilled -- so creating more demand for it does nothing for the
environment. Time Inc's Refkin is correct to focus on the real issues -- increasing the supply of recycled fiber, using sustainable forestry, and reducing the carbon footprint of the energy-intensive paper industry.

By the way, as wasteful as our industry's newsstand practices are, they generally are not causing landfills to fill up. The recycling rate for newsstand returns has always been high, which is why environmental groups have focused on encouraging the use of post-consumer fiber. Also, I don't think Myllykoski claims that all of the recycled content in the paper from its Alsip mill is post-consumer because it uses waste from printing plants and newsstand returns. Given the generally poor quality of post-consumer fiber in the US, using high-quality pre-consumer waste to make coated paper probably makes more environmental sense than relying solely on post-consumer waste. And as for claims that recycled fiber has a lower carbon footprint, two mills that make coated paper with recycled fiber could not tell me their carbon footprint and the third had a relatively high footprint. What matters more than type of fiber are the mill's sources of on-site energy and purchased electricity.
(Submitted by a Senior Director of Manufacturing)

Re: Bosacks Video
you sir, are a voice of reason . . . the sony is a model t . . . and yes it is . . . too bad u didn't have a kindle with you which is the tucker of e-book readers
(Submitted by an Industry Pundit)

Re: Vive Les Dead Trees
Bo,It has gotten hackneyed and self-serving of would-be environmentalists to continously refer paper based reading material as "dead trees" or "tree killing" for that matter. Such people need to get the message that trees are a renewable resource (and regrown as such -- and I am not talking about old growth forests, a related, but different argument), like corn and other vegetable matter. Do these same individuals refer to their shoes as "dead animals", their shirts as "murdered cotton", their next broccoli and mushroom side dish as "terminated vegetables", their next espresso as "whacked beans" or the next sashimi platter as "offed fish"? The context of such arguments is critical of often ignored. Paper companies, printers and publishers are not the bad guys per se --- many of them do their jobs green-consciously and well, with an enviromental awareness and commitment that goes beyond mere sloganeering.
(Submitted by a printer and proud of it)

Re: Vive Les Dead Trees
Bo- Maybe French publishers are doing something novel - like producing a product for the reader. I'm not a Francophile and my knowledge of the language is a notch above non-existent, but when I see a copy of Le Figaro or Le Monde I can't help but think that the reader is very much in the editor's (and publisher's) mind. When I unfolded the Sunday copy of my local Long Island newspaper the flyers and inserts that fell to the floor, or came between me and the editorial were enough to make me throw up my arms in frustration. I applaud the ad staff, but after fliiping through 10 (or was it 12?) full page ads to get to the next page of news it wasn't applause I wanted to give the publisher. Maybe that's why I now read the Sunday issue only. And our magazine brothers and sisters are no better. Did you ever count the number of ad pages before the table of contents? Or, when you're trying to find that article continuation on page 132, the number of pages that are not numbered?

Don't get me wrong. Without ad sales the publishing industry would only be a shadow of itself and I wouldn't have a job. But let's put things in perspective. If want to stem the loss of readers shouldn't we pay a little more attention to the reader? We talk a lot about wanting things to be more user friendly. Let's remember who the ultimate user of newspapers and magazines is. It's sure not the advertiser.
(Submitted by a Marketing Executive)

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