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Monday, June 2, 2008

Letter of the Day

posted by on June 2 at 15:45 PM

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.

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.

RSS icon Comments


I have a question:

How do the Strangers restaurant, art, and social happening reviews keep him from "living under a rock" if he lives in fucking ~New Mexico~???

Posted by Non | June 2, 2008 4:03 PM

Best post on Slog today. I will forthwith stop eating my copies of the Stranger after I read them having now found out that they are not edible.

Posted by PopTart | June 2, 2008 4:08 PM

i thought the extra copies were being used to build a monorail.

Posted by skye | June 2, 2008 4:16 PM

How is he getting a print edition, in New Mexico, Wednesday morning? How is he getting a print edition?

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 2, 2008 4:18 PM

I used to subscribe to the print edition of The Stranger from Spokane. It kept me from living under a rock.

Posted by elenchos | June 2, 2008 4:26 PM

Wake and bake 10am - Noon, work Noon - 3pm, drinks 3pm - 2am?

Posted by w7ngman | June 2, 2008 4:29 PM

I like to have lunch with Stranger staffers from Noon to about 2:30 pm, because it makes them that much more productive.

As to resources - you should have said the power in Yakima is hydro-electric, that's what that meant.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 2, 2008 4:31 PM

@4 Umm, space time warping of course, he is in New Mexico...

Posted by PopTart | June 2, 2008 4:31 PM

Isn't anyone at all curious about where the author of the letter got his paper, and about the chemical composition of his ink?

Posted by poo poo | June 2, 2008 4:42 PM

I concur with poo poo and will go a step further - where did he obtain his notebook paper? Was it from a store he walked to? How far was the paper transported before it ended up on the store shelves? What kind of bag did he opt for to deliver the notebook paper(I assume it was wrapped in non-biodegradable plastic) was it paper, plastic or did he carry a canvas tote. What kind of food did he consume to obtain the energy needed to purchase said notebook paper - locally grown and organic I am sure. What kind of clothing was he wearing to purchase said notebook paper? Cotton? Or was it a blend of Cotton and Petroleum derived polyester? I have many questions. Like why doesn't he have email?

Posted by smp | June 2, 2008 4:53 PM

I imagine that working for "The Stranger" must be a lot like the office in the movie "The Best of Everything": deadlines, cocktails, gossip, fanny pinching, sleek office furniture by Knoll, summer picnics where they have sing-a-longs on the school bus on the way to the picnic site. But I wonder who the Joan Crawford character is...

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay | June 2, 2008 5:00 PM

"Take this letter --and respond". I'm gonna be ending all my correspondence like that from now on.

Posted by banjoboy | June 2, 2008 5:18 PM

newspaper pulp is made out of conifers, thanks to the hearst papers & their campaign to ban hemp.

Posted by max solomon | June 2, 2008 5:53 PM

And weed is made out of tobacco, right?

Posted by Kent Cudgel | June 2, 2008 10:52 PM


And I have it on good authority from a guy in the UW's paper science department that trees are not cut down to make paper. Rather, trees are cut down to make 2x4s, and paper mills buy up the chips.

Posted by Greg | June 2, 2008 11:52 PM

Depends on the tree, Greg.

As any ex-forester could tell you. You don't make shakes and shingles from oak, you use cedar, for example, and you make beams from certain trees, and knot every tree makes good 2x4s (most people use metric now).

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 3, 2008 1:19 AM

Wow, 16, your insight is chock full of authority. Having been dangerously misled by Greg, color me wised-up. Thank you for what you do.

Posted by Thermometre | June 3, 2008 8:43 AM

yeah, i was definitely wondering if this person is so environmentally concerned why don't they read the stranger on a nice low energy consumption laptop? i live in nyc and that's how i read it...

Posted by nicole | June 3, 2008 8:56 AM

@16: Most people use metric except for architects, surveyors, structural engineers, contractors, carpenters...

Posted by Greg | June 3, 2008 12:08 PM

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