For most of August, I anticipated the arrival of my September issue of Vogue. When all 915 pages finally reached my doorstep, its shear size made me utterly disinterested. I couldn’t find the articles I wanted to read let alone the table of contents. I’m still searching for the cover story on Lady Gaga. Since I read my magazines while traveling to work, lugging around an extra six pounds was unrealistic, so to be honest, I haven’t read anything in the September issue except for the interview with Chelsea Clinton. In a way, the nearly 1,000 page issue was a big let down both figuratively and literally.
For most magazines, the September issue features the latest trends and what we’ll see in the stores throughout the coming seasons. The September issue is also a huge money maker, filled with hundreds of pages of advertisements. I don’t begrudge magazines making their money. However, the sheer size of just the September issues got me thinking about the environmental impact of 2000+ pages showing up in one month alone.
Over 13 million people receive the September issue of Vogue*, meaning 1,189,500,000 pages were printed last month for readers. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that 1.5 billion tons of magazines entered municipal waste system, and of that total, 54% of magazines were able to be recycled. Unlike other paper products, magazines aren’t recycled to create more magazines. Instead, they go to paperboard products like cereal boxes, tissues and printer paper.
Seeing as only half of all magazines sent to the recycling center are actually recycled, what is our responsibility as consumers when we subscribe and purchase our favorite magazines? Should we all switch to digital copies of our favorite magazines? Share what you think!
*Source from The September Issue and is based on a 2007 figure.