I feel guilty every Sunday when I get The Washington Post. The routine is the same. The first thing I do is get rid of the classifieds — six sections of newsprint whose only value to me is the exercise I get taking them to the recycling bin.
I’m sure I’m not alone. If you’re not in the market for a car, house or a job (in of the few job categories served well by newspapers), the classifieds are pure waste. After direct mail, newspaper classifieds have got to be the most environmentally wasteful form of advertising.
The guilt has gotten to the point where I’m canceling my subscription altogether.
How about allowing me to opt for the paper without the classifieds sections? Sure, this will reduce the paid circulation of classifieds by the number of people who opt out, but those people have no real value to advertisers anyway. All of that newsprint is a significant expense for newspapers and the environment.
From a logistics standpoint, this should be fairly easy to do. Much of the Sunday paper is pre-printed and then assembled later. Some newspapers, including the Post, already distribute some sections (such as the Sunday circulars) separately.