Jennifer Tribe

Article Summary:

How to be more environmentally friendly when publishing your work.

Environmentally Friendly Publishing

No doubt about it -– publishing uses a lot of paper. Over the last three years, the Green Press Initiative estimates that US book publishers have chewed up about 60 million trees. That's just for books and just in the United States. When you add in other printed information products, such as booklets and newsletters, and bring in other countries, it's clear that publishing creates an environmental issue that can’t be ignored.

What You Can Do to Help
An obvious remedy is to e-publish instead of printing on paper. While that will help ease some of the environmental impact, it’s still not perfect. Many customers download e-books, then print them out for easier or more portable reading. (I know I do.) And sometimes, e-publishing just won’t achieve your info product goals.

So if you really need to produce a print product, here are some environmentally-friendly options.

Choose Environmentally-Friendly Papers
There are basically three types of material for making paper:
1. Virgin fiber, which is made from fresh trees
2. Pre-consumer waste, which is composed of the scraps generated at the paper mills during the paper-making process
3. Post-consumer waste, which is the material you put in your recycling box

Virgin fiber is less than ideal, especially from old-growth forests, as trees are constantly harvested to create it. Many paper companies now certify certain *stocks as “old-growth free” so if virgin fiber is unavoidable at least try to find one of these certified types.

Recycled paper is an environmentally better choice, and these days recycled paper is often comparable in price, quality and appearance to virgin *stocks.

Admittedly, there’s been some debate about the recycling process. Some critics claim that the chemicals used to de-ink and bleach post-consumer waste only create new and different environmental problems. It’s true that toxic byproducts are created by recycling paper, however, many experts say that bleaching recycled paper takes up to 75% less chlorine than bleaching virgin fiber.

So, while recycled paper isn’t perfect either, it’s still better than virgin *stock. You save one tree for every 90 books you print on 100% post-consumer recycled *stock.

Pay Attention to the Bleach
The whiter the paper *stock, the more chlorine is needed to bleach it, so choose papers that are less bright. For book publishing, papers that are less bright are better anyway because they’re easier on the eyes for long periods of reading. If you do want a brighter *stock, look for papers that are certified “elemental chlorine free.”

Choose Uncoated *Stocks
Uncoated paper *stocks are easier and less expensive to recycle than coated *stocks. If you go with an uncoated *stock, you’ll also have a much greater variety of tree-friendly papers to choose from.

Ask Your Publisher to Participate
If you’re not self-publishing and are therefore not involved in the actual printing of your book, tell your publisher that you’d like to follow earth-friendly practices. Green Press Initiative offers a letter you can download and send to your publisher at

Let Readers Know
Let your readers know you support and use environmentally-friendly printing practices. In the United States, if you print on recycled *stock, you can display a recycled content logo from the American Forest and Paper Association. In Canada, if your chosen *stock contains at least 50% recycled content, with a minimum of 10% post-consumer waste, you can display the Environment Canada EcoLogo.

Jennifer Tribe is the president of Juiced Consulting, a company that helps business owners turn their expertise into money-making information products like books, special reports, teleclasses, and audiotapes and CDs. Jennifer holds a degree in journalism and has worked extensively as a writer and editor. Her articles on information products have been published in Management Magazine, Home Business Magazine, BusinessWoman Canada, and other leading publications. Subscribe to her free e-zine, Infopreneuring Strategies, at www.juiced

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