What to Do With Old Magazines (It's Not Recycling)

GLOSSY GIFTS: Pass your mags along to others to enjoy. (Photo: orphanjones/Flickr).

Now, don't get us wrong. We're huge magazine fans. They're books for people with short attention spans: colorful, fresh and fun. But subscribe a weekly or two ... a few specialty magazines ... and before you know it, there are small stacks of dead trees pretty much everywhere you look.

And that's the problem: magazines represent a lot of resources. From paper stock to ink and transportation, a lot of energy and materials go into something most people read once before slipping under the sofa.

You could recycle them — but there's a better way.

The best thing you can do with old magazines is to give them a second life — or a third or a fourth. Every time you put a magazine into someone else's hands, you halve its people-to-production cost ratio. So rather than carrying bundles of magazines down to the paper recycling bin, take them somewhere they'll be enjoyed.

Some ideas for finding your magazines new homes:

  • Pass them along to friends and family. This is the simplest way of putting magazines back into circulation.
  • Host a monthly readers' exchange. Invite some people over for coffee — you can even advertise the event to broaden your circle. Everyone brings their used books and magazines, and goes home with something new.
  • Donate magazines to groups and organizations which will use them. Anyplace that has a waiting room will usually be grateful to receive fresh reading material — doctors' offices, hospitals and automobile service departments. Even better: arrange regular magazine deliveries to nursing homes and women's shelters.
Of course, cutting your magazine consumption down a bit is a good idea, too. Are certain magazines stacking up, unread? You'll usually find a Circulation Department phone number on the masthead. Cancel and use the refunded balance for something else. It's also worth checking to see if your favorite magazine's online version meets your n

Otherwise — enjoy. Paper is a renewable resource. Let's just use it wisely.

Copyright Lighter Footstep 2007