Demand for Recycled Grows
"Right now, the focus is on the university press," says Deborah Bruner, production and design manager of the Cornell University Press, in Ithaca, N.Y., and a signatory to the GPI letter. "We can mobilize the university press community. That's where I see the quickest route to action."
GPI officials say the need to move to recycled paper is urgent. U.S. book publishers use more than 40% of the world's industrial wood harvest. The pulp and paper industry is also the largest industrial water user, and third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, among countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an organization of industrialized countries.
A recent market analysis conducted by the GPI found switching to 30% post-consumer paper would increase costs no more than 4¢ per book. Changing to 100% recycled paper would could raise costs up to 17¢ per book.
"I've been trying to get publishers to recognize that they can have a huge impact on the recycled paper market by buying recycled," Bruner says. "The trade press is in the driver seat. If one trade house would send the [recycled] message, the mills would get in line in a minute."
Bruner says establishing a buying co-op for recycled paper would help ensure a price break and continuous supply for publishers, and economies of scale for mills.
The situation is slightly different in Canada, where the printers have been more responsive to green initiatives. Broadview Press, for example, made a commitment to print the "vast majority" of its titles on paper with significant recycled content, says Craig Lawson, corporate affairs coordinator.
"We found that 30% fiber would only add about 20 to 25¢ [Canadian] to the cost of a book, and the benefits would be worth it," he says.