Eugene Weekly : Coverstory : 10.04.07

Eugene Weekly 25th Anniversary Issue

What are We Doing Here?
An introspective look at our unique publication

Starting the Paper
Silver linings in cloudy times

Thanks for the Memories

Getting Readers Excited
Your editor reflects on nearly a decade of reader response

EW Enviro

And time goes on, and on, and…
Eugene Weekly Timeline


EW Enviro

Ever wonder why EW reporters and staffers just look a little more rumpled and damp than our peers from the R-G or the TV stations? It’s all about sustainability. Almost our entire editorial staff walks or rides a bike to work, with some ventures into carpooling. The exception? Our editor with bad knees who saves fossil fuels with his 50 MPG vintage motorcycle. While this does give us a more windblown look than other news sources, it gives the EW some positive carbon credits on our in-house sustainability survey.

Mmmmm. Compost.

Our offices are downtown to encourage employees and customers to walk or bike to the building. Employees are allowed to bring their babies to work, cutting down on transportation and childcare costs. Dogs come too, sometimes. All employees get a free bus pass.

Almost everyone on staff winds up driving to work once in a while, and due to the nature of their jobs, the sales staff admits they drive to work a lot. We try to make up for this by making those who drive feel very, very guilty, and reminding them to use biofuels.

The EW offices recently underwent some enviro-friendly renovations. No, not the new vivid primary colors paint job; rather, we replaced the windows to become more energy efficient. We also replaced one of our old oil heaters with a heat pump, and we now burn biodiesel in the remaining oil furnace. EW staffers wear shorts in the summer and sweaters in the winter to keep our energy needs low and our fashion choices varied. Contrary to popular opinion, we don’t heat our offices with our own hot air. When we do use electricity and air conditioning, we buy wind-powered energy.

The EW recycles incessantly. All used paper is recycled. The plastics Sanipac doesn’t take go to Weyerhaeuser for recycling, and Styrofoam goes to NextStep Recycling. The EW uses post-consumer content paper everywhere we can (kitchen and bathroom too).

One thing we can’t get around is the fact that we are a newspaper, which means the EW is printed on paper — we print some 40,000 papers a week. According to the American Forest and Paper Association, it takes one tree to make 2,700 copies of an average newspaper. We’d like to think we’re not average, but that still puts us at about 15 trees a week.

In an effort to slow the tree sacrifice down a little, our printer, Signature Graphics, prints the EW on 50 percent recycled newsprint and gets much of the new fibers from wood chips.

EW is printed using soy-based inks. Soy ink doesn’t make us taste any better, so please don’t lick the paper, but it does make the paper easier to recycle. Soy ink is more easily removed than petroleum-based inks.

We lose eco-points for the fact our paper is printed in Portland and trucked down to Eugene though 27 percent of our local distribution is by bicycle via Peddlers Express.

While we haven’t quite figured out kitchen composting yet — no one has volunteered to balance food scraps on the back of their bike — editor Ted Taylor composts the coffee grounds (the EW staff consumes a lot of coffee). He also reportedly feeds the grounds to his chickens, the results of which we enjoy as local eggs. Some of those food scraps we need to compost come from CSAs, and employees get produce as a company benefit, so we eat locally and healthy, too.

And finally, we support local business and publish more stories, commentaries and letters on environmental issues than any other media in the region. — Camilla Mortensen