Helping authors and publishers to save trees

provided by Solana Recyclers

Reading a book is a wonderful thing! However, the tens of millions of books printed each year require vast amounts of paper fiber and resources to produce. In fact, in 1999, US book publishers consumed 1.93 million tons of paper – requiring the equivalent of 40 million trees (averaging 40 feet in height). If more books were printed on recycled and alternative fiber paper, significant environmental savings could be achieved.

    The Green Press Initiative was recently developed to make this a reality and is assisting authors and publishers to print with the Earth in mind. The Initiative is a program of Solana Recyclers, a non-profit organization in Encinitas, CA.

    “If all books were printed on recycled paper, the act of publishing and reading would begin to heal our forests and promote sustainable economic activity,” says Paul Hawken, one of the initiative's founding authors and spokes-people. Hawken, along with Julia Butterfly Hill (Legacy of Luna), was able to successfully negotiate that his book, Natural Capitalism, be printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper. Additional founding authors include: Andrew Weil, MD; Winona LaDuke; Fritjof Capra; and David Suzuki.

    Recycled paper represents less than 8% of the entire printing and writing paper market. Nearly all publishers are still printing on virgin fiber paper because historically recycled paper costs a bit more. However, The Green Press Initiative recently performed a market pricing analysis and found that:

  • Switching from virgin fiber to 30% postconsumer recycled paper equates to a cost increase of approximately 1 to 4 per book
  • Switching from virgin fiber to 100% postconsumer recycled paper equates to a cost increase of approximately 17 to 20 per book

    Many publishers comment that they are unable to absorb these costs. This prompted the Initiative to conduct a random survey of 200 readers in front of Borders Books in San Diego and San Francisco. The survey revealed that 86% of readers are willing to pay more for books printed on recycled paper. Of those that are willing to pay more, the median amount is $1.00 more for books printed on recycled and/or alternative fiber paper.

    Finding ways to reduce our consumption of natural resources takes many forms; the use of recycled paper and products is one of many solutions. If interested, let publishers know that you support this effort and that as a reader you are willing to pay a bit more for a book that is printed on recycled paper that meets the Green Press Initiative's environmental criteria.

    Visit or call 800-694-8355 for more information.

    The Green Press Initiative is sponsored in part by The S. Mark Taper Foundation, McCarthy Family Foundation, and Union Bank of California.