It's "Newspaper Week"

What's black and white and read all over? (Come on... you know the answer to that one!)

It's a familiar scenario repeated day after day, in homes all over the country... after you've stumbled to your front door, long before you've even formed your first words or had that first sip of coffee, you're unwrapping and leafing through your trusted morning companion: the newspaper.

While paging through the scandal sheet or rag that got tossed against your stoop this a.m., you're likely to find all types of articles and information under the sun... advice, breaking news, cartoons, classifieds, word games and crossword puzzles, datelines, editorials, op-eds, features, restaurant reviews, theater criticism, coupons for clippers, sports, sports and more sports, headlines, weather and political forecasts, wedding, birth and death announcements and let's not forget those steamy bits in the back meant for lonely hearts.

Printed on the cheapest, lowest-grade paper imaginable, newspapers are cranked out daily, sometimes twice daily, and/or weekly, and cover "hot" (or sometimes not so hot) topics for readers in a specific area or region.

There are two types of newspaper formats. The first are those printed on over-sized broadsheets like the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, etc. These attract brainiacs who not only complete the crossword puzzle in pen, but also read more than just the articles "above the fold" on the cover. This particular breed of individual not only knows who the current president of Iran is, but also knows how to pronounce his name correctly. They read the International section and know about affairs of the world beyond the borders of the United States. These avid newspaper readers continue to stay informed by reading information as it's provided daily within the printed pages of their paper of choice (and then enjoy the mockumentary version on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart later that evening).

For the rest of the newspaper-inclined, there's the half-sized tabloid format with 2-inch headlines intended to appeal to the Jessica-Paris-Brangelina-Brittany-lovers of the world. On these shortened format pages you'll usually find scandals and celebrity gossip, front page sports news, and news items that rationalize, applaud and/or excuse Bush's most recent foible, Cheney's latest shortcoming, McCain's anger issues, and Palin's late-breaking gaffe alterations. They usually hate Hillary, too.

Additionally, with the Internet now a solid part of our lives, many are choosing to catch the news as it's breaking on-line as opposed to reading about it a day or so later in print. Reading from a standard computer screen might just make your eyes crossed from the glare of your monitor, but the added bells and whistles of internet-news (You know what I'm talking about...glitzy animated advertising, visuals like video coverage and recorded interviews), all add up to spice up the text and can be infinitely more entertaining than the crinkly, smudged and sometimes even wet and off-gassing print of a newspaper.

But no matter how you receive your daily dose of everyday information, intelligent reporting, dubious rumor or ambiguous hearsay...if it's in print form, it's your responsibility to make certain it doesn't wind up in a landfill.

In a perfect world, the average piece of paper - if adequately exposed to the elements - decomposes completely in 2-5 months. But if thrown away as regular trash, once the plastic bag itself eventually deteriorates in about a thousand years (give or take a decade or two), then maybe the paper entombed inside the plastic trash-bag will finally have its chance to decompose as well. Sadly, paper in all its many shapes and sizes, amounts to almost half of what we end up sending to landfills.

It's pretty basic information, but everyone who reads a newspaper or printed periodicals should know that the act of recycling paper decreases the demand for virgin pulp which, in turn also reduces the devastation of forests, and the overall amount of air and water pollution created during the manufacture of the paper.

Luckily, these days, almost half of the material used to make paper comes from recycling used paper, cardboard and newsprint. So, when you've finished reading it, recycle that Chronicle, Dispatch, Gazette, Herald or Post. This form of eco-consciousness is so elementary, even the Tabloid-addicted can get this one right the first time at bat.

Plain and simple - because most recycling programs will collect it this way - it's always best to separate paper into white office paper, newspaper, cardboard, and mixed-color paper, and tie each type separately. Once sorted and bundled, carry the items to be picked up curbside at the appropriate time on the designated days for your community.

By recycling your newspapers you'll be turning all the news that's fit to print into all the news that's print to fit.