Our recyclables (cardboard boxes, paper, toilet paper rolls, a can and a couple of beer bottles) fills a 10 litre bucket at the end of each week. Living single-use plastic free and working towards zero waste is not about swapping a full garbage bin for an even fuller recycle bin. Recycling is not the answer to our waste problems. We must refuse and reduce what we consume as much as we can to have an impact.
I’ve been pondering the things in our recycle bin, wondering how I can reduce them even further. I’m not giving up toilet paper so the rolls are staying, but I have found a valuable use for them. We eat lots of pasta which I cannot buy in bulk, and I am not going to add pasta making to my list of things to do each week, so those boxes are staying. Then there are the three weekly newspapers which take up the most room. We always save them for the wood heater in Winter or for weed matting in the garden, or shredding for the chook nest boxes, but we still have so many stacked up in the garage. The Weekly Times is online but Shannon loves to sit at the kitchen table for breakfast thumbing through the pages of that paper. I wondered if we should give up the local papers because there was no online option – or so I thought. Then one day I saw an advertisement that The Warragul & Drouin Gazette had gone online. Yes! This was my answer because I had decided giving up the local newspapers was not an option. These are my reasons.
- include good news
- connect people with those around them by being a key source of local information on community events, arts events, schools, jobs, housing, crime, environment, social services, government activities, and local politics
- allow people to deliberate on the future of their community, and
- boost the local economy by showcasing local businesses and encouraging local shopping.
It’s true that other sources of digital information are available everywhere and anytime, but it is for this reason that local newspapers are so important. Local journalists are important in interpreting what is really going on in communities and explaining it to readers. Is this true? What does it mean for me?
After getting excited about discovering one of my local rags online, I did some Googling and discovered that the South Gippsland Sentinel Times (SGST) had recently gone online too (amongst others). Great timing! Now I had other questions. How did subscription costs compare to hard copies and would downloading it each week blow my data usage out of the water?
I found out that a 13 week subscription with the Warragul & Drouin Gazette is $10.99 or $0.85 per edition. A hard copy costs $1.10 per edition and we have delivery costs on top, so an online subscription saves us $0.69 per edition. Win. I contacted The Gazette to find out about the downloads. Each edition is about 70MB and will take about 2 mins to download unless you have wi-fi. That’s not too bad depending on your data limit. With wi-fi it takes 2 seconds to load.
The South Gippsland Sentinel Times reported that “there is no download of the online publication as such, however you can access whole weekly publications on any mobile device or desktop/laptop computer. The format of the pages are in PDF format, and it’s fully mobile responsive, so it looks great on any device”. A hard copy of SGST will cost $1.40 per edition, but just $1.17 with a 12 month online subscription.
What I love about these digital options is that you still get the newspaper. It’s just on the screen and you use your finger to flick the pages. I was able to keep up with local news while on holiday, and they both allow interaction and sharing on social media. The Gazette also has an app which makes reading and sharing on handheld devices super easy. Download the app and the sample issue to see if you like it.
Another big tick for reducing waste in this household. Make sure you look up the local papers in your area to see if they have gone online too.