finding out the hard way

I haven’t bought a newspaper and I have looked at the possibility of subscribing on my kindle.  I can’t see a problem with that apart from one thing.  The Crossword.  This is a major feature of my newspaper reading habit.  I love crosswords.  I don’t want a book of them I don’t want to do them online.  I like to do what I can and then the next day look at the answers and try to work out how the heck they got from “Fighting observed in the capital”  to Warsaw.  That was an easy one.  How about.  “Cat heard in seaside playground”.  Answer Lynx.  Lynx (cat) sounds like (heard) links (seaside golf course).

Apart from the crossword issue the online sub is quite good for me because I am an anal newspaper reader.  One page out of line and I have to put the whole thing on the floor and realign and straighten and decrease all the pages.  When the Boss reads the paper he leaves it like this.


It gives me palpitations and has been the cause of many a marital discord.

Magazines are a bit harder.  The Boss bought me a subscription for Country Living, I get a copy of The Garden with my RHS membership and I often buy copies of Mslexia and  Pretty Nostalgic, not to mention various other less artful or intellectual publications 🙂  I don’t have an iPad (as a writer I really need a proper keyboard and decent sized screen) and I can’t read them on my phone and I don’t want to read them , even if I can, in black and white on my kindle.  So my options are (a) buy the magazine and recycle to the Doctors’ surgery (I can’t compost glossy paper); (b) read it at the library if they have it; (c) buy an iPad or (d) don’t read magazines.


At the moment none of them particularly appeal.  I would quite like an iPad but I don’t need one and to spend money I don’t have on something just so I can read magazines seems quite ridiculous and certainly not ecologically sound.

Books are far easier.  I have a kindle and I am quite happy reading on it.  Some books do not, in my experience, work well on kindles.  Cookery books for one.  I am an adventurous and happy cook.  I have an extensive (I really do mean quite extensive, but compared to my mother’s paltry) collection of books and they do all get used.  I plan menus each week in advance and pull out 2-4 books for each week’s menus.  Many of my books are out of print (the lovely Robert Carrier Taste of Morocco for example)



and wouldn’t be available on kindle.  There is no point replacing what I already have with digital copies.  I have already polluted the earth and used up trees buying the books, it would be a double waste to ditch them and buy online copies.  So books I already have and want to keep (ie not the 400 going to Borderline) stay.

What of future purchases?  Novels etc. online definitely, or charity shops, or swaps or library.  No purchases of new novels.  But then what about gifts?  What about the book you read over and over and over and has your notes in the margins.  This isn’t as straightforward as it seems.

Thus far my posts seem to be endless questions.  Going low, or even zero waste is not any easy option.  There is more to it than recycling and composting and boy am I finding out the hard way.

11 thoughts on “finding out the hard way

  1. I can’t see why you would call having something you really enjoy wasteful? so, yes, magazines either don’t buy (I only buy one mag a month now) or give to Dr. But if you want your crossword, then have it! And then upcycle the papers to the compost heap.

    1. I am less concerned about newspapers as we do either use them to start the fire or compost them. But this week is about looking and noticing. What can I do what can I change. I need to record it somewhere!

  2. There are several more options: buying used books for the ones you want to read over and over and sharing magazines with others. Maybe you have a friend or can find someone in the neighbourhood who reads the same magazines as you do and passes them on to you when they’re finished? (You could pass on some as well)
    It’s maybe not zero waste immediately, but it reduces waste overall and I’d always advise baby steps with such life changes. If reading and paper is such a big issue to you, even a reduction by 50% will be a great step and paring down in several “rounds” will be much easier to achieve.

    1. Indeed, thank you all very helpful. I am observing this week. Next week it gets put into practice. The point of this slow approach is that I am more likely to stick with something if I have had the time to reflect on why I am doing it and what the options are. Also my family would probably upsticks if I made major changes overnight!

  3. I’ve let most of my magazine subscriptions elapse, as my mum passes her magazines on to me, and I’ve discovered that people donate magazines (even new ones) for others to trade, so the number of free publications I can pick up do for my magazine fix. After I’ve read them, I pass them on to somebody else. I really am enjoying tagging along with you on this journey, Gillian, and it makes me want to dig into my own (cluttered) house with vengeance. Well done!

    1. Thank you Amy. I’m learning so much, not just from my own journey but from all the wonderful people who post ideas, suggestions and questions.

  4. When my husband and I homesteaded in rural Arkansas over 30 years ago, we found that every decision had consequences – the question was, could we live with the consequences? For example we weren’t going to get electric service until we realized we would not be able to power the pump needed for our well. So please don’t beat yourself up with lots of questioning. Do what works for you and your family. (I find it frustrating that it is so difficult to print out a recipe because Kindles, intentionally, do not have print functions.You can do it with the Kindle computer app with a sort of (legal) workaround. Paper, at least for the next few years, is going to be unavoidable. But I do need to do something about my too-many-books collection).

    1. Agh I have just lost my entire reply! Suffice to say. Thank you, your posts are so helpful. Right now the journey is important. If we could be zero waste tomrrow I would say no, because we need the journey to learn what works for us.

  5. P.S. I share your love of crosswords and the fresh ones in the morning paper are always the best.
    Howver, there are puzzles one can print out from on-line: yes, it is using paper, but one sheet as opposed to the whole newspaper and you and re-use the other side. OR…you can print your puzzles on the backs of other printer paper sized leaflets.

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