From Aryne Chacon of Santa Fe, New Mexico:
The Stranger Editor:
I absolutely love Seattle's only newspaper. Your restaurant, music, art, and social happening reviews are what keeps me from living under a rock. And the comfortable writing styles of your journalists is what I look forward to every Wednesday morning.
Though I do have some environment related questions I am curious about. First of all, where are your paper supplies coming from to make each copy? What sort of chemicals are used in the ink? How are the copies delivered throughout the city? What sort of resources and how much is used by the printing machine in your company? How often is your building being operated? What is done with the copies that are sent back?
I would like to continue to enjoy your newspaper and that may be even more possible if you take this letter and respond.
Thank you, Aryne Chacon. We're glad you're not living under a rock.
A few answers to your questions:
First of all, where are your paper supplies coming from to make each copy?
The Stranger is printed in a secret, underground print shop in Yakima, Washington. Sixty percent of the pulp used to make the paper is recycled. The rest comes from trees in Canada. Mike, the friendly guy at the Yakima print shop who has worked in print shops since 1978, says he doesn't know what kind of trees. He'll ask around.
What sort of chemicals are used for the ink?
Soy, mostly, plus some waxes, pigments, and resins. It is not edible.
How are the copies delivered throughout the city?
By fifteen drivers in vans, who go from Bellingham to Olympia and Issaquah to the Kitsap Peninsula. Our distribution czar, Kevin Shurtluff, says they drive about 2,000 miles per paper cycle: "I've, personally, been to the moon (one way) once over the course of my total tenure. The distro team goes halfway there each year. Distance to the moon = 238857 miles. Doesn't really stack up for squat against what semi drivers do; a typical semi engine is designed to last for one million miles."
What sort of resources and how much is used by the printing machine in your company?
I don't know what you mean, exactly, but I'm going to say electricity. And broken dreams.
How often is your building being operated?
Most of us in editorial work from noon until three pm, when we knock off for drinks. Dominic Holden, the new news writer, is often here on weekends, working diligently. I bet he'll grow out of that pretty soon.
What is done with the copies that are sent back?
Again, from Mr. Shurtluff: "We have a contract recycling service. From what I hear from them, demand pulls recycled Northwest newsprint to Asia."
Where, presumably, it is sold to pet food factories in China.