Thursday, February 28, 2008

So many free newspapers... so much waste

This week in London a house was built from unwanted newspapers to raise awareness of the volume of waste created by free newspapers in the UK capital.

The Newspaper House is a public art installation by Sumer Erek making use of the free newspapers disposed of to 'grow' the house in one week! In London tube passengers alone discard approximately nine-and-a-half tonnes of freesheet newspapers a day. To raise awareness of this Londoners have been invited by the artist to insert their own personal news within the newspapers and add them to the house structure, with the aim of reconnecting them with the value of the newspapers.

For more information see the artist's website.

Also this week, over sixty volunteers armed with pink recycling bags split into teams to cover the busy parts of London and between them collected 800kg – the equivalent of around 8,000 free newspapers – over the space of a few hours. The bags were taken to Potters Field, just behind City Hall, and a Polaroid of the bags and the volunteers was hand-delivered to the Mayor of London. “The amount of newspapers we were able to collect was astounding – it was sometimes possible to fill an entire bag with the free papers in just one Underground train”, said one volunteer. “We collected as many papers as we could carry but we also knew that we could’ve been there all night”.

Project Freesheet is a web based campaign and the main thrust of the project is to highlight issues and concerns raised by the ever increasing amount of free literature (aka freesheets) now being handed out on the streets of cities around the world. Tube Lines reported in December that they are collecting 9.5t of free newspapers every day.

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