LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Effect on environment should be considered

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Consistent with my belief in sustainable living I make the effort to reduce buying products with too much packaging, reuse and recycle all waste materials generated in and around my home.

In keeping with this commitment I mulch the leaves from the trees on my property to be used later in the garden, compost the kitchen waste into this mulch, shred the newspaper into my worm bin, place my used cans, cardboard and plastic in the city recycling bin and put the rest into the trash.

I hold on to the hope that more citizens would do likewise and that businesses like the Union-Bulletin would lead the effort by demonstrating a good example.

In my effort to reuse the newspaper however, I run into the problem of the portions that cannot be reused. Newsprint is a different consistency from the advertising pages found in the paper. It has a mineral-oil-based ink and breaks down rapidly when exposed to water. On the other hand, the advertising pages are a dioxin based, colored ink, processed paper that doesn't break down easily. It may put these harmful chemicals into the ground when exposed to water.

The Sunday U-B is an example of the kind of material waste I am talking about. The newsprint sections consisted of 28 pages of news, 16 pages of Parade magazine, four pages of comics and eight pages of classified ads. The nonrecyclable paper consisted of 120 pages of product advertising. Almost two-thirds of the total paper was unusable in a recycling sense.

It is unfortunate the Union-Bulletin is functioning as a junk mail delivery business very much like the U.S. Postal Service. A farsighted business should rethink what service it is providing to the public and how it affects the environment as well as its customers.

John Christy
Walla Walla

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