Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Word on the street...

"The paper holds their folded faces to the floor and every day the paper boy brings more."
Brain Damage, Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon 1973

We still take the local paper, the Indianapolis Star. Several months ago, my wife and I decided to take the Sunday paper. It’s full of coupons, articles, and especially the color comics page more commonly as known as “the funny paper” which we cannot live without. I have also found that we can reuse the funny papers as wrapping paper, pet cage liners, and other valuable uses. The Sunday paper was all we needed and anything we didn’t reuse was faithfully and righteously recycled.

Sometime along the way, we are now getting a daily paper. Neither my wife or I know why this changed. Now, papers came everyday producing the following muda(Japanese word for waste):

-It takes 1 minute and 1 second per day to bring the paper in from the end of driveway
-That results in 5.21 hours of time spent retrieving a paper every year Monday-Saturday
-I don’t read the daily paper so it goes to recycling
-Extra waste is produced because the paper is delivered in a plastic bag that needs to be recycled
-Several times the paper gets smashed by a car or soaked by rain resulting in a complete waste
-I have to add more recycling storage space for the extra papers
-I spend additional time taking the extra papers to the city recycle bin

As a result, I get a paper I don’t need, taking time that I don’t have, taking up space that I need for something else, and creates a headache that I don’t want.

My improvement today is to call the paper and stop all delivery except Sunday. I called up the Star’s subscriber services line to get this done. Here is my version of the conversation:

Kaizeneer: “I’d like to only get the Sunday paper. Please stop all deliveries except Sunday”
Star: “We can do that but we don’t have just a Sunday delivery. We have a Thursday and Sunday delivery-would you like that?”
Kaizeneer: “No, I just want Sunday. Tell the deliverer to not put a paper on my drive on Thursday”
Star: “Sir…you can just throw away the Thursday paper”
Kaizeneer: “I don’t want a paper on Thursday. I just want to have to pick it up and recycle it…”
Star: “Sir…you can just destroy it…”
Kaizeneer: “You don’t understand. I don’t want to even see it. Tell the delivery person he can give my Thursday paper to a person whom wants to trail the Star. I don’t want to take 1 minute and 1 second everyday to pick up the paper…”
Star: (laughing)

Well, I think I have reduced the waste newspaper from six days to one day a week. This improvement means will be less trees cut, less plastic to deal with, and less storage needed. As for my time, this means I can reclaim 4.785 hours a year for some better purpose…like taking a nap.

Dan Lafever

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