About Me

  • I'm CEO of Newspeg.com, a social news-sharing platform. I've spent 20 years at the intersection of traditional and digital journalism. I've helped to invent ways to read and interact with the news and advertising on computer screens and iPads, and before that, I wrote news stories on typewriters and six-ply paper. I co-founded WashingtonPost.com and hyperlocal pioneers Backfence.com and GrowthSpur; served as editor of Philly.com; taught media entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland; and have done product-development and strategy consulting for all sorts of media and Internet companies. You can read more about me here.

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« Sports Photos: Developing | Main | An Editorial Opinion »

April 10, 2008



Your post has some inaccuracies in it:

Yellow Pages only takes up some .3% of all landfill space, so they are not the culprit of why landfills are maxing out

2nd, while the popular myth is that this industry is responsible for the neutering of forests, the reality is the Yellow Pages industry doesn’t knock down any trees for its paper!!! Let me repeat that – they don’t need to cut any trees for their paper supply. Currently, on average, most publishers are using about 40% recycled material (from the newspapers and magazines you are recycling curbside), and the other 60% comes from wood chips and waste products of the lumber industry. If you take a round tree and make square or rectangular lumber from it, you get plenty of chips and other waste. Those by-products make up the other 60% of the raw material needed. Note that these waste products created in lumber milling would normally end up in landfills. Not only that, as wood chips decompose, they emit methane, a greenhouse gas closely associated with global warming. Paper manufacturing thus puts these chips to good use. Many paper providers will also use 5% or less of recycled directories in their paper creation.

3rd, my tax dollars are being used for curbside recycling of newspapers, magazines, etc, but now municipalities don't want them in the same recycle stream???? The industry would glad take back old, unused directories. Here's why -- read my post on how YP paper is made: http://www.yptalk.com/archive.cfm?ID=322&CatID=3

Mark Potts

Thanks for your comment. I'm not sure what inaccuracies you're referring to--I was simply taking commentary elsewhere about the Yellow Pages and using that as a jumping off point to talk about newspapers' possible environmental issues. Any beefs with the facts about Yellow Pages and the environment are best addressed to the other sources I linked to. I was merely reporting what they said.

Jason Preston

"The environmental impact of newspaper printing and distribution has been a ticking time bomb for years,"

too true. While I think the "green" movement is on the whole a force for good, it can often broadside industries that rely on something "un-environmental" like printing for their livelihood.

I think that a lot of people, myself included, still have some affinity for getting content on paper as opposed to ONLY online (and let's not forget that electricity has its environmental impacts, too, especially in the US), and that will continue for some time.

Papers can and are spending time and money researching alternatives to classic paper (digital paper), which I think is a smart move. Here's hoping they develop a viable product in time.

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