We Make Zines

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I am just throwing this out there, because it personally bothers me. Don't get me wrong, i am one of those that likes zines in print... the ones i can touch and bring with me everywhere. i am not very fond having to read content on the computer--it is just less appealing for me; i dont enjoy it as much as i do when it is in print. BUT looking at the facts and figures below worry me. any ideas how we can enjoy zines and still help the planet?

 

Global use of paper has grown more than six-fold since 1950. 

  • One ton of uncoated virgin (non-recycled) printing/office paper uses 24 trees.
  • One ton of paper = 400 reams = 200,000 sheets.
     
  • So one tree makes only 16.67 reams of copy paper, being just 8,333 sheets of paper.
     
  • Making paper uses more water per ton than any other product in the world.
     
  • One ton of paper uses 2 barrels of oil, 28,000 litres of water and 4,100kw hours of electricity. Enough energy to power the average home for 5 months.
  • One ton of paper requires the use of 98 tons of various resources and produces 2,278 lb of solid waste.
  • In most western countries, paper accounts for up to 40 percent of all municipal solid waste.
     
  • Pulp and paper is the 5th largest industrial consumer of energy in the world, using as much power to produce a ton of product as the iron and steel industry. 
  • One fifth of all wood harvested in the world ends up in paper.

 


Source: The Worldwatch Institute.

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couple things.

1. yes. all that is bothersome. hard to get away from. hard not to think about. i think about this stuff with toilet paper. wow, we go through lots of it.

2. the zine world uses a lot of paper, but a small fraction of what is used in the overall world.

3. i've seen several zines that were made on recycled paper, and have even seen zines that were made on homemade paper. i've seen cloth zines as well. if you, personally, are bothered by the use of paper in our society, then i say make a zine of your own using all recycled products. it could serve as a good example to the rest of the community!
You can pass along your zines after you finish them if you're not going to read them again. :) I think it's ok to use paper, as long as you're actually using it.
I really don't think zines are putting much of an impact on the world's paper consumption. And unlike magazines and newspapers, people usually hold on to zines for a long time so they aren't thrown away or use up resources to recycle them. But like Billy said, using recycled or re-purposed paper, or making your own is something you can personally do if you'd like.
I'll agree with the fact that people hold on to zines for a long time. I've got zines I picked up 15+ years ago that I still have... and during that time have discarded (or recycled when possible) thousands of pounds of newspapers and magazines.

Derek Neuland said:
I really don't think zines are putting much of an impact on the world's paper consumption. And unlike magazines and newspapers, people usually hold on to zines for a long time so they aren't thrown away or use up resources to recycle them. But like Billy said, using recycled or re-purposed paper, or making your own is something you can personally do if you'd like.
I work in a school and between kids throwing away mostly blank pieces of paper they made one little mistake on, copies that came out incorrectly, and notes from the administration that take up maybe one quarter of the page, I've salvaged lots of usable blank paper from the recycling bins. I've been using this as scratch paper and to write letters on so far, but I have saved enough that I think I can print my next zine on the backs of old homework and notes from the principal. This kind of recycling doesn't use any resources. Anyone who works in a school or office can probably do this. And a lot of schools (at least the ones around Kansas City) have big paper recycling dumpsters, you could grab paper from there.
true to that! my buddies at Reuse First (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chicago-IL/Reuse-First/49557139502) go to all sorts of places to find paper that would otherwise be thrown out. Then they make journals, postcards, and other such things out of that.

Dave Roche said:
I work in a school and between kids throwing away mostly blank pieces of paper they made one little mistake on, copies that came out incorrectly, and notes from the administration that take up maybe one quarter of the page, I've salvaged lots of usable blank paper from the recycling bins. I've been using this as scratch paper and to write letters on so far, but I have saved enough that I think I can print my next zine on the backs of old homework and notes from the principal. This kind of recycling doesn't use any resources. Anyone who works in a school or office can probably do this. And a lot of schools (at least the ones around Kansas City) have big paper recycling dumpsters, you could grab paper from there.
Here is an excerpt of a post I made to Libertarians for Animal Rights three years ago:

"Lately, over the past few months, maybe years, I have found myself leaning more and more toward egoism. I have called it "benevolent" egoism, which would include"ethical egoism", but I suppose purist egoists would consider such qualified terms redundant. I've been reading about Max Stirner and his book, The Ego and It's Own, but have only recently acquired a microfiche copy, and haven't yet finished the introduction. Nevertheless, even though Stirner and other egoists MIGHT be a little more extreme than I am, I have found that my leanings and affinities have been toward some qualified version of Stirnerite egoism. This shouldn't be that surprising, as I've long called myself an individualist."

As such, things like----the economy, productivity, the community, the greater
good, democracy, patriotism, God, Goddess, Gaia, country, nation, THE
ENVIRONMENT, etc., are all subordinate to my own---and, being a benevolent
person---others' pursuit of happiness, and I have even become suspicious and
hostile to these "values", insofar as over and over again, they have been used
to suppress, oppress and harrass THE INDIVIDUAL, especially the creative,
dissenting, non-conformist."

*********************************************************************************************************************************************

I am very much an advocate of animal rights, but I am very skeptical of environmentalism.

Anybody can put together a damning body of factoids, but sometimes they may lack perspective. How many of the trees that are being used to make paper were planted for that purpose....and are replanted after being harvested?

What about the MERCURY and other substances that are leaching into the environment from discarded computers and other "paperless" technology?

What about the increased "EMF pollution" from cell phones and wireless devices?

A more fundamental issue. Everything we do, just to survive, will have some "impact" on "the environment", for good, neutral, or ill. The "environment" also impacts us in the same way. Should we feel the need to apologize "for existing"? Or even just to have a little fun? How much fun, "environmentalists", will you allow us, before you pronounce "that's enough, put your toys away"?

I don't care how "smart" the ecologists are, how "educated", how many credentials or degrees they have, or how many awards they've won. The environment is a very, very, very complex system, and even though they've learned a lot and have understood a lot, I seriously doubt it's enough to make any sort of definitive recommendation on what "we" must do or not do to "save the earth". Well, I don't mind so much that they "recommend" things, but I don't think they or anybody else is qualified to "legislate" them.

Personally, I do regularly re-use paper for drafts and scratch, but I suspect that's more out of economic self-interest and the frugal mores I learned growing up than environmentalism. I also try to recycle, but sometimes there are so many do's and don'ts about what and how you can do this, it's very difficult.

Oh yeah, I buy my paper as cheap as I can, at Walmart, at $2.50 a ream. I don't even think about Union, local, fair-trade or recycled, and to expect me or anyone else to is typical bourgeois elitism, and I suspect, ideological/political conformity.

If you don't think you can question environmentalism and be vegan and pro-animal, here are a few posts I've made on LFAR:

http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/Libertarians_For_Animal_Rights/m...

http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/Libertarians_For_Animal_Rights/m...

JND
James,

As interesting as your ideas are, I don't think a thread asking for ideas about how we can do something with a concern for the environment is really an appropriate place for you to post an argument on why we shouldn't have a concern for the environment.
Dan,
Well, maybe my rant was a little overreaching, but I think I Am's questions & comments did entail other ethical and philosophical issues very relevant to zinesters.

There was an implied challenge to many of my values as a bibliophile and a strong defender of the Papernet culture that I felt I had a right to address. While I Am's premises might not have been intentionally hostile or disrespectful, they contained many of the insinuations of hardcore Internet/computer promoters that we bibliophiles & paper-philes are somehow "raping the Earth". I've responded very little to this when I've read it in other places, mostly on the Internet, and felt this discussion might be a good place to finally do that.

One issue I brought up is the impact of Internet technology, consumption AND PRODUCTION, on the environment. Whether paper communication is better or worse has been a matter of controversy for years now. I think it's relevant to the original post and isn't an anti-environmental question per se.

Dave,
My Dad, family and friends all had/have beliefs and practices I have and will criticize, so I hope we can avoid personalizing the issues.

Just the other day I was reading Strikthru.net and one person mentioned their obsession with dollar store shopping. I've long enjoyed the dollar store myself and often incorporate it into my personal zine-way. In fact dollar stores/Big Lots/Wal-Mart shopping is part of a very old and well established zine subculture. My "frugality ethic" is at odds with your "fair wage/price ethic". I'm not necessarily trying to denigrate your ethic, just defending my own. I think, in the long term, my low-consumption/frugal/self-interest ethic may make a better world than yours, but no, I can't prove it.

Of course workers have the right to collectively bargain, but employers and consumers have a right to look out for their interests too. Between getting a "fair" wage, a "good" price, and making a "good" profit, who's to say is right or wrong? Unions, historically, have sometimes sneered at people who accepted jobs for lower wages as "scabs". Maybe some of them were more frugal and willing and able to live on less, more simply and austerely. Maybe some had no choice, possibly because they were people of color. Historically, unions have be racist. Samuel Gompers was virulent in his anti-Asian racism. So in principle, unions have their rights, but they haven't all been noble. I don't begrudge them their bargaining in their own self-interest, but I don't apologize for seeking out the best buy in my own.

I suppose working conditions in countries where work is out-sourced are hard, but I don't see how raising the wages of Union members help "Indonesian boys who work their fingers off". Any purchase I make may at some point be traceable to some worker hardship, but may choices assumed to be "ethical" will too. Maybe raising wages in the U.S. will dry up jobs overseas, and people will be worse off there, and even starve. I can't save the world anyway, and I doubt you can either.

I don't so much object to "personal" environmentalism as I do "political" environmentalism. I suspect A LOT of personal environmentalism are pieties to assuage guilt feelings that should be questioned a little more, but again, it's really none of my business, like someone's religion.

Political environmentalism is behind many laws, regulations, ordinances etc. that forcefully deny me my freedom, telling me how I may build my house, who and how many I may have in my business, meeting house, home, etc. and many, many other intrusions. To me, a libertarian, it's just as egregious as political Christianity, which does indeed exist in many obvious and insidious ways, and oppresses people. Both political Xians and political enviros shrugg or scoff at these claims, and say they're not hurting anybody.

You may be right about unions not being bourgeois. They may be mainly working class. I would maintain that concerns about buying local, fair-trade, organic, etc., etc., and the various movements to promote them, often at a political level, do come from people who are more able to afford this sort of thing. The less money you have, the less you can afford to concern yourself with things like these. Right or wrong, I think this is a relatively widespread perception among the working poor, and yes, racial minorities. I personally don't see any overwhelming ethical argument for it either. I personally buy vegan and cruelty-free and that makes ethical sense to me. I'm not convinced at all of the necessity of these other criteria.

Veganism is fundamentally more important than "fair" trade, buying local, etc. It's about living beings and their pain and suffering and right to live. Philosophically, I don't even know what "fair" means, it's so subjective.

I'm a scrounge, a low-budgeter, a bargain-hunter, a libertarian and a skeptic. I'm all these because I believe in and enjoy them, and because I have to economically. I am also a bibliophile and a papernetter. I don't know how this effects the environment in the long term. I doubt anybody does. This is very much a zine issue, this is a zine forum, and I felt it necessary to defend a longstanding zine subculture. I know it's longwinded, and I'll try not to say more, but I felt it had to be said.
James: I think you bring a lot of good points. One thing I feel like I have to comment on,though, is the way you use the word and concept 'frugality.'
At one time, frugality meant consuming as little as possible. It correlated very directly to having a low environmental impact. Frugality meant buying less, and using less.

At this point in history, frugality also means spending less. This is a slightly different use of the term, and important. Because of stores like Wal-mart, spending less does not always mean buying less or using less. One can use the same amount of products and still spend less.

The real ethical quandary for me comes up in terms of that low cost. When I buy something new at a very low cost, like at Walmart for example, I am not simply paying for a low-frills option and thus being frugal.

Instead, I am actually passing off the additional costs of making the item. I think I can explain what I mean by an example. bear with me:

(All these numbers are made up)

The Cost of Producing Product A for XYZ Coop/Higher Priced "Ethical" Store:
Materials- $2
Processing - $3
Shipping - $2
Labor- $3
Markup - $2
Total Cost - $12

Cost of producing Product B for Wal-Mart or another discount store:
Materials- $1
Processing- $2
Shipping- $2
Labor- $0.20
Markup- $1
Total Cost - $6.20

Where did my savings come from? They didn't come from using less materials. Yes, cheaper materials are used, which saved me some money, and the markup was lower. But most of my savings came from the labor costs. Yet the same amount of labor went into each product. The worker who made Product B was paid much less to make the product-- so little, in fact, that they could not feed themselves or their children enough without working 12-16 hour days, seven days a week; even then, they may not have had enough to eat. They may have been kept in locked facilities and had their timesheets altered. They were probably not allowed to speak to any investigator, or taught how to lie in order to keep their jobs. They may not have been able to use the bathroom. They may have been children. They may have been physically punished at work and sexually abused. They probably had no other alternative than to work for the company or another just like it. These are all real and common abuses that have been well documented.

So given that these workers were not paid for all of the work that they did, where did my savings come from? They came from the stolen labor of that person. That person actually paid the remainder of the product cost with their unpaid labor.

People-- workers--are real beings, who feel and suffer no matter where they are located. I'm poor; I'm not bourgeois. I pay for organic food, recycled paper and union made products if I need to buy something new, which encourages me to buy things used or do without; that's frugality for me...

I'm interested in how to make zines with less environmental impact (I'm a paper-phile too) -- & have been thinking about how to make my own paper using recycled newspaper, etc. This would mean block-printing or typesetting, but I might give it a try.

Thanks for listening.

<3 b
wow, so many things. Zer, i really liked your post, and totally identify with it.

James -- you bring up good points. everything we do has an impact. is paper production more damaging, or computer production? technology has HUGE impacts on the earth, and in many ways, i'm sure, that we are not even yet aware.

but you also said so many things i disagree with. you are animal rights, but unsure about environmentalism? animals are part of the environment, and the ethical treatment of each are equally important. they are truly linked, as are all living things. as somone mentioned, the pain and suffering of a human (poor working conditions) is not so different from that of an animal (animal testing, etc.) but the cutting down of forests is also hurtful. maybe you don't care about trees, but what about the animals that live in them?

i don't mean to attack you, but all of these issues, be they animal rights, union rights, labor rights, etc, they ALL boil down to this idea that humans tend to think only of themselves and their own comfort. if purchasing a product has no negative impact on THEIR life, then too often they don't think about it. It's a terrible way to be, and is the bottom line root cause of all those things. "What do i care if they cut down a rainforest?" "What do i care about animal testing?" "What do i care that some kid made my shoes?"

it seems odd to me that you can talk so passionately about one cause, and dismiss others.

i'm not out to save the world, i only try to do what i think is right. that's all any of us can do. unfortunately, most people don't think beyond themselves. if they aren't the ones in pain, being tortured, being treated unfairly, etc, then they ignore any problem which might exist within the system they are taking part.
Paper defended:

Am I Green?

http://irascibleprofessor.com/comments-08-14-10.htm

(Link posted on Alt.Zines, Google group.)

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