Disclaimer: This article will cause some eye rolls and loud exhale for some.
I was born in 1996. Yes, I’m right at the limit between millennial and post-millennial (also called Generation Z).
Although I was born in the 90’s, my memories really starts to become clear around Y2K and even if I love to throw “As if” around a lot, I was most used to wearing pink on Wednesdays. So I guess I’m closer to Generation Z than Millenials.
The thing is, it doesn’t matter.
Did you know that starting with Millenials, our generation and the one that follows are most prone to what they called “eco-anxiety”?
It’s a new term attributed to people, usually youth, who are so afraid of climate change consequences, they suffer from severe anxiety. It’s a real thing and it’s, sadly, happening more and more.
If you believe climate change and reducing footprint is a hoax…. That’s your cue to stop reading here.
Now, the subject brings me to talk about something I usually don’t mention a lot because it’s a personal matter:
At home, I recycle, compost, pay attention to my consumer’s habit
Outside, I limit my plastic consumption, take public transportation, bring my own container and go thrift shopping.
I try my best, although far from being perfect.
Ever since I saw online a beautiful quote that turned my mind upside down:
“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly”.
Meaning: it’s the little things that counts, as long as we do it consistently and together.
I’ve been writing for the Comic Lounge for months now so I guess you know me at this point: I’m always questioning myself and my surroundings. That’s why I keep trying to figure out a way of how to reduce my footprint, while still enjoying my ever growing comic collection.
Because let's be honest: the comic industry is not the most eco-friendly out there. Papers, plastics bags, bunch of cardboards, etc.
I was looking around online, trying to find eco-alternative, trying to find anything to help me reduce the guilt of buying yet another pack of plastic bags.
The fact is: I haven’t find any alternatives… yet.
I’m not gonna lie, It saddens me a lot to think we haven’t find anything better to keep our precious comics safe.
And I can hear you loud and clear: “if you’re not happy with it, stop collecting”.
Well guess what, this article is not about complaining. It’s about starting a conversation. Figuring out if there’s a way to protect a little better.
Anyway. I thought I might share with you what I’ve found so far to help my conscience:
Reducing / Refusing:
Now this one is obviously not for everyone. I’ve reduced my pull to the lowest. I have currently 5 titles and 3 of them are ending soon. As you’ve probably read in one of my previous article (Comic Collecting Compass) I try my best not to get caught up in the hype of buying comics just for the money value. I’ve always preferred reading TP so I see less and less the need to purchase singles. And for the numbers I can’t live without… I now try to read some of them online. By reducing my consumption of single issues, I’ve reduced my need of buying plastic bags and cardboards - and it also saves me tones of money for my trades! Of course, as I said, I am far from being perfect. I still buy some singles, but I guess now I just think twice about the utterly famous sentence “Do I really need it”. I mean… Most of the time, my singles end up sitting on a pile just waiting for my attention. A trade is, for me, much easier to read and collects 5 to 6 issues, that’s not too long to wait for! Doesn’t change the fact that I would like, at some point, to find an eco-friendly alternatives to preserve my comics. Any ideas?
I think cardboard boxes aren’t so bad, since you can recycle them. Right? (At least I hope we all recycle them when they are no longer of use!) But in the spirit of reducing, imagine a box that will last longer and will protect even better your comics? Because even though your box is recyclable, it’s still easy to break or damage and then being no longer of use. I think at some point we might want to reduce our consumption with something more durable. I was browsing for some durable ideas and here is a list my favorite alternatives: a) Wooden comic box - (especially cedar) more expensive, can build it yourself if you’re creative, solid, smells good, some woods naturally repelled insects. b) File Cabinet - can buy used ones (in the spirit of recycling!), solid, keep everything organized and away from light… I mean, it was built for important document! c) I just put them in my bookshelf like regular books. I think it’s easier to access and prettier for my room! Now, I agree, those options can be more expensive. But it also last longer. Since I reduced my consumption of single issues, I don’t need boxes anymore. But I’ve heard some positive comments from some other members of the community and I think all of the above look much better than cardboard boxes!
Any other suggestions?
This is tricky since we need to find the balance to keep encouraging local comic shop: I started going into used book stores and just buy my trades there. It’s nice, everyday something new appears on the shelf and I discover new underground indie titles. BUT I also think buying to LCS is an important part of the industry, that’s why I’m curious to see if there’s any possibility to instore a reusable system at LCS where customers can bring back used comics and sell them at a cheaper price? Just throwing some ideas out there!
And more inquiries….
Why aren’t comics printed out on recycled paper? This one would actually, in my opinion, be a fantastic solution. However, I couldn’t find anything anywhere that explain if and how it would be possible, it would be so awesome to be able to print comics on recycled papers, don’t you think?
So many questions in my head, so little answers. I obviously want to investigate more on the subject. If you have answers, don’t hesitate to reach out! I hope we can find ideas and better alternatives. The comics industry is so beautiful… and so is our planet. I refuse to believe there’s nothing to be done, no improvement to be made. It’s in the little things that can help us do better and… be better.