Green Your Magazine Habit

October 7th, 2013 BY Hilary Feldman | 5 Comments

Many of us have the same guilty little secret – our homes hold stacks
of excess paper. Maybe it’s the daily newspaper that mounts up. Perhaps
glossy magazines grace every surface. At least both of these pulp
products are more recyclable compared to books. But that doesn’t really
address the issue of cutting trees to provide relatively disposable
reading material.

It’s difficult to balance a passion for reading and environmental
stewardship. If you are caught between a tree and a bookshelf, some
alternatives might provide a breath of fresh air. Of course, there is
always the library – but budgetary constraints and other borrowers may
result in a long wait to hold that new magazine or book. If you want to
step up the pace, check out

Zinio provides digital publishing content, including a wide selection
of magazines, textbooks, and classic books. Consider that the
conventional magazine market is huge – many people have subscriptions
of printed magazines and supplement these with impulse purchases at
newsstands. According to Rich Maggiotto, CEO of Zinio, “In the US
alone, 12 billion magazine issues are printed every year.” It’s a
staggering number. Add in the fact that the US is certainly not alone
is its love for magazines; many countries have thriving magazine
publishing industries, particularly across Europe and Asia.

Maggiotto points out, and it’s probably true in most homes, that a lot
of print media goes straight into the recycling without much
inspection. “I thought there was a lot of waste going into this kind of
production of content that really wasn’t being consumed as rigorously
as some other types of media,” he explains. “When I started to dig into
the numbers, because the numbers speak for themselves, I think it’s
this very quiet sort of ecological disaster happening.” Production
inefficiencies are widespread. In fact, only 30 percent of issues
actually sell. The rest are boxed up, shipped back to publishers, and
discarded. Even the magazines that find a home may not be recycled when
their time is up.

By accessing magazines through Zinio instead of in print form,
consumers literally save trees from the chopping block. Maggiotto
estimates, “With the millions of paperless issues we deliver each
month, it has been calculated to a savings that equates to 10,000 trees
every 30 days. We expect this to grow significantly as more consumers
embrace the paperless alternative to reading their favorite

Another nice thing is that you can access magazines from across the
globe and in different languages. No more fruitless searches for
obscure titles or extortionate overseas postage. And the waiting time
is drastically reduced, so you can read the current issue when it is
released – not days, weeks, or even months later. Of course, you can
read it whenever you like – maybe you’re used to a long lag-time for
the latest fashion updates.

Just this week, the company launched Zinio INSIDE. The new search tool
allows free web access to all Zinio’s digital content. That includes
millions of pages, magazines, textbooks, and digital books. The company
is adding travel guides, cookbooks, and other resources as well, and
all of this material will be fully available for searching.

If you are curious, try out Zinio for free. A new initiative called Read Green
offers a year-long digital subscription to the magazine of your choice
- there are more than 20 to choose from. And it’s completely free. To
further sweeten the deal, Zinio has teamed up with Ecounit to plant trees across school and university campuses. Each additional paid subscription bought through will buy Ecounit credits for this project.

It’s time that publishers and consumers work together to end needless
waste. With forests facing other challenges, as well as playing crucial
environmental roles, it’s ridiculous to think of cutting down trees
only to dump their glossy, bleached and dyed carcasses in overflowing
landfill sites.

UPDATE: Zinio has also teamed up with AboutMyPlanet in a new green initiative. We are in the process of releasing two new books, along with specials from other companies. Zinio is the exclusive sponsor for the eBook entitled “Go Green Revolution: My Life”, it’s a project that’s been in the making for over 6 months and we’re very excited to be releasing it and to have Zinio support it. To find out a lot more information along with an EARLY BIRD SIGNUP goto .

  1. stav

    i stopped buying magazines a while a go, and tend to do most of my casual reading online. I am a rabid bookworm though and do spend a fortune on books, which i then hoard, unable to give them up… i am also reluctant to loan them out to anyone, in case i don’t get them back.. i am an extreme case though, and i am sure that this digital magazine idea is a good one and will have positive impact.

  2. flowerhorn08

    I will definitely check out Zinio as you mentioned that it is free to peek at those magazines in the site. I just hope that it live up to my expectation as I am expecting the latest issue of magazines to be found there.

  3. ACCER

    I just clicked over there and found all of my favorites. Now I’ll NEVER get off the computer! But thanks for the tip, every little bit helps.

  4. Timberati

    Don’t expect forests to flourish because of reading online.

    • World-wide, paper is mostly produced from cellulose fibres. Less than two-thirds comes from wood, one-third comes from recycled paper and about 5% comes from non-wood sources. Recycling is principally developed in western countries (40% of the production in western Germany for example) and non-wood fibres (such as bagasse, cereal straws, bamboo) in developing countries. [source: UN FAO –

    • According to Patrick Moore, former member of Greenpeace and founder of Greenspirit, “Thirty percent of the wood harvested is used to manufacture pulp and paper, mainly for printing, packaging, and sanitary purposes. Fully half of this wood is derived from the wastes of sawmills that produce the solid wood products for building. Most of the remaining supply is from tree plantations, many of which are established on land that was previously cleared for agriculture. So even if we did stop using wood to make pulp and paper, it would not have the effect of ‘saving’ many forests.”

    Lastly, about green. To say that computers, which are made with numerous chemicals, use all non-renewable resources, contain heavy metals, consumes energy perhaps equal to delivery, and are problematic to recycle; are ”greener” than paper magazines made with 30% recycled paper already, seems a bit naive or disingenuous.

    Don’t get me wrong. I love my computer but using it instead of paper doesn’t make me feel greener.

  5. Hilary

    Being aware of paper consumption, and overall resource use, is something that is new to most of us. The idea is to tune into reducing our consuming ways. While virgin forests are not used for pulp and paper, some people might argue that sustaining large tree plantations is not optimal, since monocultures do not provide sufficient wildlife habitat and so on.

    Nobody should rush out and buy a computer instead of a magazine. However, more than 55% of North American households already have a computer (based on 2003 statistics). Using online magazines reduces excess paper production and household clutter, at the very least. Glossy magazines rely on additional processing techniques and often toxic inks – hardly easy on the environment. And many of us struggle to recycle/pass on our magazine collections.

    There is no perfect solution, but it is time to stop the avalanche of excess.

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