What Do You Do With Your Newspaper Sleeves?

| Fri Nov. 14, 2008 3:50 PM EST

newspaper150.jpgEarly next year, the NY Times plans to ditch its old plastic newspaper sleeves in favor of this one, a "biodegradable polybag." Here's the scoop:

With this new technology an additive is mixed with the plastic that causes the finished product to degrade over time, as it is exposed to oxygen in the open environment or in a landfill. In addition to being "oxo-biodegradable" the bag can be recycled along with any other plastic bags. The Times will be the first national newspaper to commit to using this environmentally friendly bag. While this new bag is more expensive, we believe it is an important change to make.

If the paper on your doorstep isn't the Gray Lady, though, your plastic sleeves are most likely still bound for landfill purgatory. Blogger Kate Galbraith recommends reusing them for storing food in the fridge—if you're ambitious, knock yourself out with bag crafts like these.

But after the jump, here's another idea, inspired by a post from Danny Seo. (He's kind of the green Martha Stewart):

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Seo applauds a hotel's idea of delivering newspapers to rooms in reusable hemp bags. Obviously this wouldn't work for those of us whose news has to brave the elements, but what if papers handed out raincoats? You'd leave a reusable plastic bag on your doorknob, and the delivery person would zip your paper up. Sure, it takes a little more time than the classic toss, but wouldn't the savings on disposable bags make up for it?

Of course, the whole time you're figuring out the bag problem, there's that black-and-while elephant in the living room, the paper itself. Much as those of us in journalism hate to acknowledge a reason to cancel your daily paper, let's be real: If trees could recoil in terror, that is exactly what they would do when someone mentioned newspaper subscriptions. (Mother Jones compares the carbon footprints of print and online news in our November/December issue).