Thursday, April 02, 2009

grow your own missed point

One of the most depressing recent additions to modern urban life are the free daily papers. Most big cities have the Metro. Additionally, Manchester has a light version of the Manchester Evening News, and London gets The London Paper and London Lite.

They contain little real news between them and as they are mostly left on public transport or dropped in the street, I'll readily wager that the majority of copies end up in landfill.

Just as we know charging for carrier bags reduces their disposable use, so we should end the profligacy of the free newspaper. It is a flabbergasting amount of waste for no real benefit.

On the bus recently I was reading the Metro and saw they'd devoted half a page to the story of someone who wants to 'encourage readers to do something useful with their old newspapers'.

She takes Metro stories, embeds them with flower seeds and uses them as a base in compost-filled flower pots.

Article headlined 'Grow your own Metro'

Quite why she can't just plant the seeds and miss out the Metro isn't explained, but hey, at least she's composting the paper instead of seeing it landfilled. Except she's not.

The 21-year-old makes the displays by pasting selected stories - printed from Metro's e-edition using vegetable-based inks - on to special paper made by Creative Paper Wales.


With all those millions of copies a day left on public transport and pavements destined for landfill, she's actually adding to paper demand. And this is something good?

I fucking give up.

7 comments:

Rayyan said...

I feel your pain. You have to look really hard for any actual news when reading The London Paper or London Lite.

James Blundell said...

I always refuse to pick one up whenever I'm in London - but then end up reading about how pissed Lily Allen was last night or some other crap over peoples shoulders to distract myself from the smell of farts on the underground - it's not news and it's not clever - and it should be stopped even though it keeps foreign students in jobs - but by golly that Lilly knows how to have a good time...!

catvincent said...

Bristol buses have a sign inside solemnly informing customers that leaving copies of Metro on the bus - which they have *just picked up on the bus* - is littering...

Dunc said...

I've toyed with the idea of collecting Metros to sheet-mulch my allotment... But sheet-mulching with newspaper is a pain in the arse at best, and I'm not sure I can face having that many copies of the Metro around.

I've long hoped that copies left on public transport are collected and recycled, but with the current collapse in demand for recyclable paper, I have to doubt it.

merrick said...

Dunc,

I've toyed with the idea of collecting Metros to sheet-mulch my allotment

I find mulching with newspapers easy, spread six to ten tabloids in a fan round the base of your fruit tree, a brick on each overlap and your done.

I've long hoped that copies left on public transport are collected and recycled, but with the current collapse in demand for recyclable paper, I have to doubt it.

I doubt it happened even before that. Three or four years ago a friend was working on GNER trains from Leeds-London flogging the snack trolley.

Given that they clear trains of rubbish at known desinations, and that most of it is recyclable, she suggested they have recycling bins. It'd take a sorter to do it, but the cost could be recouped by the sale of recycling and the saving of Landfill Tax.

GNER's response was classic corporate. They awarded her a 'Green Light' pen, a poncey ballpoint made out of wound wire, a thing they dish out to employees who come up with great ideas.

Amongst trolley-dollies there was a lot of pen rivalry, the equivalent of sales reps with a GT company car who enviously covet their colleague's GTI.

Being top of the pen pecking order was all the idea was worth. Despite a commendation and an award, they didn't do anything like, ooh, act on the idea. The rubbish still went to landfill.

Dunc said...

I find mulching with newspapers easy, spread six to ten tabloids in a fan round the base of your fruit tree, a brick on each overlap and your done.

I have quite a large area to deal with, and not nearly enough bricks. Newspapers are OK for small areas, but once you're dealing with large areas (in this particular case, over 20 square meters), it becomes a right pain. Fortunately, I can get triple-layer paper feed sacks from a mate who runs an organic farm. Plus I'm terrible for hoarding cardboard boxes...

Anonymous said...

Well, in Manchester at train stations you had the Metro and the Manchester Evening Nazi ('amusingly' owned by the left-liberal leaning Guardian) - now the MEN has pushed out the Metro. The MEN has very little news of worth in, but I'd actually noticed the Metro being full of news and indeed having some really good stuff in, whether ecological issues or much more hard-hitting (for a newspaper) radical news than any other mainstream paper. I guess the ownership structure compared to others, and the others greater dependency on individual advertisers, gives the Metro greater editorial freedom. Maybe Manchester's different, but I doubt it!