The Pluses of Printing on
by Rudy Shur
As part of an industry
leadership council, I have been working on developing the “Treatise on
Responsible Use” for the book industry. Although the word <span
be a bit offputting, the goals of the Treatise are not. The main one is for
book publishers to increase their collective use of postconsumer recycled paper
over five years to help reduce greenhouse gases and save millions of trees and
billions of gallons of water.
Other environmental goals in the
Treatise include protecting the rights of indigenous people and practicing
responsible forest management. You can read the three-page document at <span
Maybe this kind of technical
information doesn’t inspire you to change. As an individual publisher, you may
feel that you are too small to make a difference. It might help you to think
about it in a more personal way. Do you really want your kids and grandkids to
experience a future like the one Al Gore describes in his film? Do you want
your books to contribute to that situation? A first-time publishing effort
might use about a ton of paper. Switching that much to postconsumer recycled
would save 24 mature trees, the equivalent of the total energy used for one
home in a year, and of greenhouse gases from one car driven for a year.
If you haven’t taken action yet,
let me suggest that you start by reading the Treatise and becoming an official
signer. Then download the paper-usage guidelines developed by Green Press
Initiative and make a commitment to strive for those standards. You can also
contact Erin Johnson at the Green Press Initiative for help (email <span
and get more information on recycled paper as an economical choice by reading
related articles—including “Green Textbooks” and “On Recycling,
Rebinding, and More,” both from the June issue—at <span
Start Out Simple
Ask your printer to quote on your
standard offset sheet and on a recycled sheet of your choice. The more
publishers who do this, the more aware printers will become of growing interest
in recycled sheets, and that could lead them to offer recycled as house sheets
and post the prices inline.
If printers think that they can
get more business by using recycled sheets, then we all win. But you have to
send the signal.
I was surprised to learn how few
individual PMA members have gotten involved with Green Press Initiative, even
though PMA officially endorsed the goals over a year ago and recently became a
signer of the Treatise. Time to get serious. Let’s all be part of the solution.
Rudy Shur is the publisher
of Square One Publishers and the author of <span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>How to Publish Your Nonfiction Book. He
is also a PMA board member.