How to go zero waste with magazine subscriptions

Filed in Blog by on August 18, 2008 13 Comments
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zinio - digital magazines and booksI have to make a confession. When it comes to magazines, I treat them like a lover. When one arrives at the door, I run upstairs with it, hidden away. I make sure Little Miss Green is happy doing something and then I sneak upstairs to bed for an hour of decadence.

It’s one of my ‘me time’ rituals that I love and I’m not sure I’m prepared to give up just yet.

Like Sue posted on my decluttering books article last week, I have piles of magazines and I do refer back to them. For me, magazines are harder to get rid of than books.

Occasionally I’ll have a declutter, but invariably the piles I am keeping are larger than those I am releasing.

But for those of you who are better behaved than I, I’ve come across a resource called Zinio. Zinio is an online publishing and distribution services company which has a digital magazine section.

What this means is, you can get access to nearly one thousand magazines online. The advantages are:

  • Several million trees are saved
  • The distribution impact on the environment is less (less fossil fuels jetting your paper and magazines to you and the postal service to distribute it to your home or local shop)exact edition - online digital magazines
  • You pay less than the cover price of a magazine
  • You get them quicker than you could in the shops
  • It’s a zero waste solution
  • You can try just one edition of a magazine before subscribing to see if you like it

What I like about it, is you can get access to magazines that you cannot subscribe to over here in the UK. Some magazines I have looked at in the past are only small publications and are limited to shipping only within the country they are produced.

Zinio is one of those companies that is making the world a smaller place and market researchers believe that by 2020, e-paper will be a $25 billion industry.

I wouldn’t know the first thing about it, but you can access your favourite magazines one your PC, iPhone or iPod Touch anytime β€” before magazines hit newsstands.

In addition, these online magazines are interactive – you can click on embedded links to view video, audio and related stories. Because sometimes, just turning the page of a magazines isn’t enough stimulation, perhaps πŸ˜‰

An estimated 12 billion magazine issues are printed each year in the USA. Yet 70% of news stand copies go unsold. This means that nearly 35 million trees are chopped down each year to produce many issues that go unsold. I found that statistic shocking. Ok, paper can be recycled, but only 5 times before the fibres are too weak to be used any more.

For more ‘alternative’ magazines, I like Exact Editions. There are fewer magazines on this platform, just a page or so. You can read one free issue of each magazine, to see if you like something before you buy.

Magazines such as ‘The Ecologist’, ‘Green Parent’ and ‘New Consumer’ are listed on here, which are some of my favourites.

What I like about exact editions is that it is delivered in pdf files i.e. everything looks exactly as it would, if you had purchased a paper copy of the magazine. It’s easy to navigate too.

What about you? Are you a magazine hoarder, or do you think digital editions are a great idea?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (13)

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  1. great solution to paper mountain.
    thanks for pointing your readers on the path of hoarder recovery.
    i have had painful magazectomy myself with no relapse in 5 years.
    my small contribution: i found the free table at the library.
    then shared with the school and senior center.
    the excesses of one are the processes of the other.

  2. Digital reading in general is a fantastic step forward – magazines and books.

    Old mags can be donated to the Dr’s surgery, hospital or similar – how about a women’s refuge for a stash of mags? Sharing mags is such a wonderful thing to do – a gift given freely, fabulous.

    Alternatively lay them out on the garden as the base of a raised bed and cover with topsoil.
    Have fun,

  3. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Nadine,

    Great to see you again – how are you? A painful magazectomy πŸ˜€ I love that. It sounds like you found yourself a wonderful solution and recovery process.

    I agree, Sarah. When Mrs A came to visit, she bought me the latest Green Parent and I was thrilled. I like to sneak slightly more ‘alternative’ magazines into dr’s surgerys πŸ˜‰ A women’s refuge is a fab idea…….

  4. jen cleanbin says:

    I think you are definitely right that paperless mags are the way to go. Unfortunately, although I like the idea of paperless, I tend to practice paper-ful. Nothing compares to snuggling up in a chair with a tangible copy in my lap, and they also travel better in my backpack than a computer does. Plus, I work at a computer all day, so I like to read something off-screen at night and give my eyes a rest. In the past I have compromised by sharing subscriptions between family members – it cuts the cost and the paper.

  5. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Jen,
    You’re a woman after my own heart. I too like to snuggle up with a paper copy, but sharing subscriptions with friends and family members helps to lighten the load.

  6. I agree ladies, you can’t beat that glossy feel and those gorgeous photos, right there in your hand. I’d love magazines to do a shared readership subscription… you know…your turn, my turn, so you can jointly subscribe with friends. How cool would that be eh!

    I keep my old ones in the boot, so whenever I’m passing anyone who may want one, I hand them over… LOL…it’s like a mobile car boot sale but without the cash.

    I knew Mrs G would enjoy the copy of Green Parent and am so glad it went to good use ;-D

  7. Mrs Green says:

    Hi mrs A, I have seen ‘joint subscriptions’ but they result in each subscriber being sent their own copy for slightly less money – that doesn’t really help the zero waste issue, does it?!
    I love the idea of you keeping some in the boot of your car – that’s very innovative πŸ™‚

  8. Tracey Smith says:

    Hi all – I only have one subscription, it’s paper-free, it was cheaper than the printed version and it has a fantastic search facility that brings me results in seconds!

    The Ecologist might seem like a heavy going read to some, but it sure packs all the facts in along with a fat slice of good humour.

    Giving a subscription as a gift to a friend is pure genius and I highly recommend it!

    Best to all,

  9. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Tracey,
    I subscribe to Ecologist too and I’m considering going digital for that one as it’s not so much a ‘curl up with’ magazine; it’s more of a research read πŸ™‚

  10. Tracey Smith says:

    Too right mate – I adore the Ecologist, don’t get me wrong, but if it’s read too late at night, it’s the stuff that nightmares are made of! LOLOL…


  11. Missy says:

    The only problem with Digital Mag Subs is i have to spend more time on my computer, which is a big turn off.

    I spend loads of time on the computer, that when im off it, im off it. I really enjoy a magazine in physical form for this reason. But i’m in the minority here, as others i’m sure don’t spend as much time online.

  12. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Missy,
    I know exactly what you mean. I actually find it very difficult to read extensive text in digital format. I don’t know what it is, but I do have to mumble, mumble…..print things off……mumble mumble if I really need to study the words on a page.

    Never mind; we all have our vices πŸ™‚

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