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Home > Natural Resources

That Book On Your Desk Is a Tree

U.S. book publishing industry has consumed an average of approximately 20 million trees per year to print books

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California power plants and CO2 emissions Think of a stack of books a tree...and a river...and clean air. The book publishing industry has a monumental challenge ahead as authors, designers and production managers ... as well as the marketing teams debate digital vs. paper, and virgin vs. recycled...and chlorine free. Publishing isn't simple, and it's getting even more complex in light of today's knowledge about how important forests are to a healthy environment.

Over three years (2005-07), the U.S. book publishing industry has consumed an average of approximately 20 million trees per year to print books sold in the U.S.

If book and other publication papers were produced with recycled or alternative fibers, the environmental savings could be tremendous. However, recycled fiber usage is less than 5% of the entire printing and writing market. This ever-increasing demand for wood fiber is contributing to the destruction of endangered forests worldwide.

More than 150 North American publishers mills and printers have made commitments to eliminate the use of paper with Endangered Forest fiber. They are accomplishing this goal through meeting the following paper-use objectives:

  • 30% to 100% recycled paper, processed chlorine free
  • non-postconsumer recycled content

Why is Paper Use Important to a Sustainable United States?

  • The paper industry is the largest consumer of forests in the Southern US, currently logging an estimated 5 million acres of forests
  • 75% of the tree plantations established in the last 20 years have been established at the expense of natural forests
  • Tree plantations host about 90 percent fewer species than the forests that preceded them and require the use of toxic herbicides and fertilizers.
  • The Southern US, which contains the most biologically diverse forests in North America is the largest paper-producing region in the world.
  • Rural communities where the paper industry is concentrated are economically worse off than other rural communities, experiencing higher levels of poverty and unemployment and lower expenditures on public education.

Sometimes we put off taking action because we don't know where or how to take that first step. The Green Press Initiative makes it easier for you to ask for recycled papers and sustainable printing. Visit their site for a list of companies who subscribe to the "green press" way of doing buisiness. The Industry Treatise

SOURCE: Green Press Initiative

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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