The book industry’s new favorite color: green

by Public Libraries on March 26, 2013

Books

With the advent of new technology and a push for all industries to treat the environment a little better, even the publishing industry is going green these days. Since the days of the printing press, the book industry has relied on resources such as trees in order to create paper and print books. While this is still necessary today, more and more publishing companies are taking an eco-friendly approach to the development of their books, according to a report by the Book Industry Environmental Council and the Green Press Initiative.

For starters, the last decade has ushered in a new era in how we read and consume our favorite books and pieces of literature. Many people have purchased ereaders or choose to download digital copies of books onto their tablets and smart phones. These ereaders allow people to read books in a less traditional way, while still enjoying the relaxation that comes with cuddling up with a great book. Ereaders have come a long way in their development, allowing people a soft light to read by, a touch screen feature that lets them feel like they are turning the pages and the enjoyment of downloading a book in an instant. This has significantly reduced the cost of reading while at the same time reducing the size of the industry’s carbon footprint.

Of course, there are still people who enjoy flipping paper pages of bound books. These people like to grab a tangible book, bring it to the beach or read it under the shade of a tree in a park. The publishing industry has not yet thrown in the towel on paper books, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t made an effort to improve the process by which books are printed. Recognizing the fact that paper is a valuable resource that should not be wasted, the publishing industry has made it a priority to use more eco-friendly and sustainable processes to create their books. This includes using recycled paper and energy efficient printing presses.

The numbers don’t lie, either. According to the report, the printing industry uses 25 percent recycled fibers in order to create paper for books and other publications. This is up from 2004, when the industry used about 5 percent recycled fibers in the production of books. The report also states that the industry releases about 9 million tons in greenhouse gas emissions, down from 12 million tons in 2006.

As the 21st century moves forward and the digital age continues to take shape, people will be using less paper. At the same time, the paper that is used is continuing to be made in the most efficient ways possible using the best technology of our time. The report estimates that nearly 5 million trees have been saved from 2006 to 2011 due to industry initiatives and the rise of ereaders, which means more oxygen and shade for everyone on our planet. It proves that even small sustainable steps can make a big impact.

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