Posting in Environment
As a bibliophile, Arcadia Publishing's move to accelerate adoption of environmentally responsible paper is a great sign. Now, if we could get the bookstores to take notice.
Somewhere in some blog post or another, I have declared the inherent green-ness of my Amazon Kindle, because I read voraciously and it just seems like the right thing to do. I especially like the fact that some books, like Al Gore's new enviro-savvy title "The Assault on Reason," cost less in this electronic format than it does on paper. Although I recognize that the pricing dynamics of e-books are about to change because of the forthcoming Apple iPad.
But I digress. The real intent of this post is actually to send out some mini-props to a 100-year-old publisher that has just taken the step to use paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for all of its titles. And, being that the company in question, Arcadia Publishing, will put out more than 700 local history titles this year, this is not an insignificant feat.
The reason that this matters is that paper that is certified by FSC has been harvested according to methods that have sustainability at their hard, from an ecological and economic standpoint.
Arcadia's business decision was prompted by The Book Industry Treatise on Responsible Paper (which I knew nothing about until I received the information about this particular development). One of the underpinnings of the treatise is the face that it advocates the industry's collective average use of recycled fiber to increase from about 5 percent today to 30 percent by 2012. Another one applies to use of FSC products, which the treatise would like to see reach 20 percent by the same timeframe.
Although Arcadia doesn't say anything about recycled paper, it has exceeded the FSC requirements by a lot. Two years early.
So, here's where I stick my neck out and point out that this is a great opportunity for one of the big booksellers (or an independent) to get out in front of the competition. I, for one, have stood by the local history rack many times in my local Borders location. Wouldn't it be cool if Arcadia and the bookstore made a big deal out of the responsible paper decision. And, to take a page out from Wal-Mart's sustainability handbook: Both Borders and Barnes & Noble could have a huge impact on the adoption of recycled or FSC paper, if they encouraged publishers to use it. I know Barnes & Noble has already taken a stand to promote magazines using recycled paper, which is really great considering the number that are tossed every month. But how about all those hardbacks and paperbacks that line their shelves?
I suppose Barnes & Noble's Nook product, the competitor to Kindle, would count here. But there's opportunity to do much, much more on behalf of the environment. Not to mention the whole charitable angle of being able to pass along books until they find a good home.
Stream of consciousness over.
Feb 9, 2010
Dear Heather: Yes, this is a positive thing and I also feel that what they are doing is far better than the norm. However, all paper must be bleached. The bleaching of paper is done, largely, in British Columbia. Such bleaching gives a by-product known as Paper Mill Sludge. This sludge contains 32 known carcinogens. Plus, when these magazines and paperback books are thrown away they go into Landfill and we are fast running out of landfill. and trees. I still see eBook Readers as the ultimate eco-friendly way to go. There you have no Paper Mill Sludge, no landfill, no cutting of trees at all. And, at $199 the Astak Pocket PRO (www.theEZreader.com) is easily affordable and very full-featured. Plus, it is smaller and lighter than most paperbacks. I am suggesting a review on the Pocket PRO. I am happy you love your Kindle. But, everyone knows of the Kindle and the Pocket PRO is lighter, faster, smaller, and less expensive.
To my knowledge most paper products come from trees that are grown for that purpose. I raise loblolly pines on a tree farm. The product of my trees becomes newspapers, cardboard, paper grocery bags, etc. If it were not for paper products, my acreage would probably now be a shopping center or a housing tract. I suggest that shunning paper products saves zero trees.
I have older books, paperbacks, that I bought many, many years ago that are disentegrating. I understand it was the manufacturer of the books using an acid process. But, today's books need to last many lifetimes. Will these books meet the test?