A Call to All Publishers
The book-publishing industry faces a new challenge: to improve its ecological footprint—significantly. The call was brought upon the industry by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Green Press Initiative—a nonprofit group that promotes environmentally responsible practices in the publishing industry—and was announced at the recent Book Expo America in Chicago.
Currently, the industry uses less than 5 percent recycled paper. That's 5 percent of an average of nearly one million tons of paper consumed each year by the book-publishing industry alone. The industry's consumption of non-recycled paper produces 5.2 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions and the loss of 19 million trees each year. It also contributes to the loss of Endangered Forests in the United States and Canada, according to the Green Press Initiative.
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Specifically, the new challenge urges book publishers and industry stakeholders to:
- Reduce waste.
-Eliminate the use of Endangered Forest fiber.
- Increase the use of post-consumer recycled fiber from an industry average of 5 percent to 30 percent by July 2008.
- Preference papers that are processed chlorine free (PCF).
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If this recycled fiber-use goal is reached, the annual savings will be:
- 4.9 million trees
- 524 million pounds of greenhouse gases
- 2 billion gallons of water
- 388,137 pounds of hazardous air pollutants.
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"The EPA has launched resource conservation challenges in other sectors that have helped to create real changes," said Dave Hockey, EPA's director of the Resource Conservation Challenge Program. A similar challenge in the electronics industry is helping to create a nationwide electronics recycling infrastructure.
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THE HARD PART
The challenge that was presented to the book publishing sector is one that all institutions and individuals face—how to prosper without negatively impacting the social and environmental systems that sustain us.