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Steps You Can Take to Save Trees

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PMA publishers who want to be environmentally responsible in their production choices can now get help from Green Press Initiative (GPI). GPI is a nonprofit program dedicated to preserving ancient forests and natural resources by helping U.S. book publishers maximize their use of post-consumer recycled paper and phase out their use of paper composed of ancient-forest fiber within three to five years.

More than 80 North American book publishers–who used more than 4 million pounds of recycled book paper last year–are committed to the program, having been spurred to action by the Green Press Initiative in the U.S. and the Markets Initiative in Canada, nonprofit programs working to catalyze environmental responsibility in the book publishing sector.

GPI publishers have begun using the GPI logo and ecosavings statements in their books and press releases to educate readers on the benefits of buying books on recycled paper. GPI’s consumer research shows that readers will support innovative publishers and are willing to pay up to $1 more per book for environmentally friendly paper.

GPI member New World Library reports that its New York Times bestseller Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle, printed on New Leaf 100 percent post-consumer paper, saved roughly 1,300 full-grown trees (200,000 copies so far), while also saving water and electricity and cutting down on greenhouse gases.

Other publishers leading the way are South End Press, Cornell University Press, Raincoast Books, McClelland and Stewart, Island Press, Chelsea Green, Baker Books, Haworth Press, and many others.

Prominent authors also support the initiativeight23150;Alice Walker, Barbara Kingsolver, Paul Hawken, Julia Butterfly Hill, Alice Monroe, James McBride, Winona LaDuke, Fritjof Capra, Andrew Weil, and E.O. Wilson, among others.

How You Can Make a Difference

Why is it important to get involved? The paper industry is the largest consumer of forests in the southern United States, currently logging an estimated 5 million acres (an area the size of New Jersey) each year. One GPI member, Mare Cromwell of Pamoon Press, printed 10,000 copies of her first book, God’s Phone Number, on 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper (New Leaf Ecobook 100). By making that choice, Mare saved 133 trees, 57,000 gallons of water, nearly a year’s worth of electricity required by the average U.S. home, and the equivalent of 11,000 miles traveled in the average American car. If the entire book publishing sector switched to 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper, it would save 20 million trees per year. Every publisher can make difference, no matter how small.

How do you figure out what paper to use and how to find it? Start with your current printer. Eight U.S. book printers now stock recycled papers that meet the GPI standards. And at least one POD printer has an acceptable post-consumer recycled sheet. GPI can provide you with a list of paper suppliers to contact for samples.

Unless their print runs are large, independent publishers may have to pay a premium over virgin paper for post-consumer recycled. Sometimes production efficiencies can offset the additional cost, but committed publishers recognize the overriding importance of saving trees and other natural resources.

Once you choose to print your books on 30 percent (or greater) post-consumer recycled paper, you become a natural candidate to join Green Press Initiative and lend your voice to the cause. The organization will help you make informed decisions and find vendors.

To learn more about being a Green Press Initiative publisher, you can go to www.greenpressinitiative.org and make a pledge, or contact me at erin@greenpressinitiative.org or 301/438-3927.

Erin Johnsonis program associate for the Green Press Initiative and coordinates the enrollment of U.S. publishers. For the past 20 years, Erin has been in management, marketing, and sales for large trade magazines. In her advocacy role for Green Press Initiative, she reports that she’s fulfilling a long-time dream of working on sustainability and environmental stewardship.

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