Newsprint Notices Hurt More Than Just Our Wallets
Trees by the Thousands, Carbon Emissions by the Tons – Weekly

Beyond annual monetary costs to local governments of half a BILLION dollars, newsprint notices generate other associated costs and negative environmental impacts.

  • Raw materials (trees) and chemicals used in paper production
  • Toxic ink still being used in the printing process
  • Fuel use and carbon emissions in transportation (production and distribution sites)
  • Municipal costs and land-use from garbage collection, disposal and recycling

To get a sense of the magnitude of the impact, consider the findings from a 2008 case study of one newspaper-the Minneapolis Star Tribune. According to Linda Thies, Sales Supervisor at the Star Tribune, the paper averaged 3 pages of public notice ads per week within a weekly circulation of 2,196,560 newspapers. 1 Thus weekly, the Star Tribune printed 6,589,680 pages of public notice ads.

  • Mature Trees Used: It takes 12 mature trees to produce 280,000 newsprint pages.2 Considering the Star Tribune produced 6,589,680 pages of public notice ads weekly, it used 282 mature trees weekly and 14,664 mature trees annually on public notice ads.
  • Carbon Emissions: A daily newspaper averages 40 pages of newsprint,3 with one-half page public notice ads.4 Thus, 80 daily newspapers would generate the equivalent of one daily newspaper dedicated solely of public notice ads. Now consider this: it takes 1,256 average newspapers to create one ton of carbon emissions.5
    • This means every 100,480 daily newspapers generates one ton of carbon emissions solely due to public notice ads. With the top 100 US newspapers having a weekly newsprint circulation of 117,354,260,6 local governments across the nation generate 1,168 tons of carbon emissions weekly and 60,736 tons of carbon emissions each year directly as a result of advertising public notices in newspapers.
  • Disposal and Recycling: A portion of the municipal costs required for trash collection and disposal is directly attributable to the bulk volume of printed public notice ads.

Local action begins when local people demand it. Please petition your local officials to publish local notices online!

  1. Audit Bureau of Circulations figures for six-month period ending 3/31/08
  2. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/the_green_lantern/2008/02/should_i_cancel_my_newspaper_subscription.html
  3. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_average_number_of_pages_in_a_newspaper
  4. Surmised from information from Linda Thies at Star Tribune
  5. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/20/technology/20green.html?pagewanted=all&_moc.semityn.www)
  6. Audit Bureau of Circulations figures for six-month period ending 3/31/08