Yes, we all know that reading our favorite publications online saves more paper than having a print copy in hand; but the reality is, sometimes it’s nice to curl up with a copy of celebrity gossip (if you’re my husband on a plane trip), a parenting pub or check out the latest in design or food p0rn (#nomnomnom). And when you consider there’s more to being planet-friendly than trees, looking into the best way to recycle old magazines is fair game.

“Paper may be an energy hog, but so, too, are the servers and desktops that make online newspapers possible,” explains  in a fascinating Slate.com piece. “Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have estimated that the average server consumes 4,505 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, a figure that includes the power used to cool the hardware.”

There’s something to the “subscribe & save” module in more than one way. “Sixty percent of most magazines at the newsstand aren’t sold and have to be hauled off to the trash dump — a waste of time money and energy(1)” So save money and enjoy the convenience of delivery with magazine subscriptions for your favorite periodicals.

4 Ways to Reuse and Recycle Old Magazines

  • photoDecorate: You could use them for decorating  presents. Considering that if 40 percent of households reduced their paper wrapping consumption by just two sheets this year, the savings could gift-wrap Manhattan Island (1).
  • Paper Chains: Or you could turn them into one of kid’s favorite countdown tools: a paper chain!
  • Holidays: It’s a little early for Christmas, but I like turning them into magazine trees.
  • Yoga Prop: Although, this past week I found my favorite new use — yoga props for that “formidable face pose” that has been eluding me in my practice for sometime now. 

(1) The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the planet One Simple Step at a Time, by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostige. (Three Rivers Press 2007)
photo credit: Annie Spratt