Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Publishers Warned of Future Consumer Revolt Against Paper

Video: Publishers Warned of Future Consumer Revolt Against Paper Video

NEW YORK ( -- On top of all its other current woes, the U.S. magazine business needs to be worried about a consumer backlash against paper-based publishing products. That was the message delivered to the recent American Magazine Conference by Canadian Forest Products Association president Avrim Lazar. He predicted that environmentally-minded Americans will increasingly focus on the connection between the paper-making industry and the problem of global climate change.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

US Postal Worker Punished for Not Delivering Junk Mail

Have you heard about Mailman Steve, the postal worker in North Carolina, USA, who stopped delivering junk mail to the homes on his route? Over almost ten years, Steve Padgett has been dealing with the absurd amount of junk mail by simply not delivering it--and in ten years, not a single person on his route complained.

This is one mailman who is providing people strictly with the service that they want, yet he was sentenced to three years prohibition and must pay $3,000 in restitution.

"Today you'll get credit for a life well lived," U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III told Padgett. Dever could have sent Padgett to prison under federal sentencing guidelines; instead, he put him on three years' probation, fined him $3,000 and ordered him to perform 500 hours of community service.

Check out the whole article in the Raleigh News & Observer and discuss what you think here on the Paper Planet. If you want more entertaining reading on this subject, see a longer article in Slate entitled, "The J. Crew Catalog Destroyed My Spirit: Why Mailmen Give Up.", which shows this is not an isolated incident.

Want to do something in Mailman Steve's honor? Find some resources on this topic at and

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Junk mail art

An artist in Chicago, Barbara Hashimoto, is producing stunning works of art out of junk mail. Having gathered all the junk mail sent to a small architect's firm during the course of one year, she has shredded it and is using it to create a constantly evolving artwork displayed in the firm's shopfront. Her art responds to the outrageous levels of junk mail in the USA - 77 billion items each year - and its horrific impacts on forests, as highlighted by Forest Ethics' Do Not Mail campaign.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Paper's carbon footprint

The huge scale of the global paper industry's climate change impacts are noted in a Guardian blog by Tony Juniper, former director of Friends of the Earth. He highlights the work of the Shrink project, saying 'Making paper emits three times more carbon than global aviation. The only answer is to consume less.'

Good riddance to Baikalsk Mill

Environmentalists are celebrating the closure of one of the most controversial pulp and paper mills in the world, at Baikalsk, on the shore of Lake Baikal, near Irkutsk, Russia. For more than 40 years this mill, owned by the billionaire Oleg Deripaska, has been pouring effluent polluted with chlorine-based chemicals into the lake. Baikal is the biggest and oldest body of freshwater on the planet, containing 20% of the world's drinking water and many endemic species. Protection of this lake has formed a focus for the environmental movement in Russia, led by Baikal Environmental Wave, which has campaigned tirelessly for the mill to be closed. The failure of an expensive effort to techo-fix the pollution problem has finally led government officials to demand that it shut down operations. It was originally designed to provide 'strategic pulp' to make rayon for parachutes, but this need was superceded by petrochemical fibres before the mill opened in the mid 1960s. Ever since it has produced packaging paper and textile fibres, mostly exported to China.