Wasteful Reading

IMG-20130826-00105I would like to think that we all do our part of making our city green.  We are Vancouverites after all; and we have all bought into Gregor Robertson’s agenda of making Vancouver the greenest city in North America – if not the planet… right?

So why is it then, that during morning commute, we casually litter our transit lines with rag newspapers without any remorse or accountability?

This morning while commuting to work on the Expo Line, I witnessed an older and somewhat respectable-looking person take a Vancouver 24 hrs from one of the human-newspaper-dispensers.  This person then flipped through the pages as he sat in the seat next to me; and while preparing to exit the train at his desired station, he cleanly folded the newspaper, jammed it into the space between the two seats in front and made his way out of the Skytrain.

Now, dare I ask… Is this respectful behaviour?  Did this person really have recycling, reuse and sustainment as his intent, with the thought that the next person who sat in his seat would pull out the jammed newspaper to read?  Most likely not…

In over ten years that I have been using the Skytrain system in Vancouver, I have often found rag newspapers littering the seats and the floors of trains and I have rarely seen someone pick them up to re-read them.  I suppose we all like our morning news fresh – unread and untainted by others’ eyes and hands.

So, if our city is to ever attain that coveted green entitlement, is there a need for this wasteful reading behaviour to change?  If so, how can this be achieved?

Until reading electronically gets to a point that we have completely done away with consuming our daily rag news on paper, should the publishers who employ hundreds of people to stand in front of the Skytrain stations to dispense these papers also be responsible for collecting them to be recycled at the end of the day?  Should the city not do its part by somehow discouraging this uninhibited dispensing and littering of paper?


2 responses to “Wasteful Reading

  • Louis

    I agree that publishers should at least pay a cleanup fee.

    That said, I do enjoy finding the news jammed between seats, and absolutely don’t mind reading it after someone else.
    I see it as a way to reduce waste.

    Instead of having a hundred of these ad-rags in each bus -read and discarded in a matter of minutes- why not share a dozen?

  • Shaji Zaidi

    Yes Why Not?

    If the spirit of sharing a rag-newspaper can work at the neighborhood coffee shop, I am sure it can work on the Skytrains and buses. However, it can only happen if our city promotes it and essentially starts discouraging this type of reading behaviors: http://wp.me/a2heAs-53

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