“Going Green” is one of the biggest movements in the last ten to twenty years; truthfully, for some places much longer than that even. Our light bulbs take less energy than ever before. We calculate our carbon footprints. We eat organic whenever we can afford to. Plastic grocery bags are slowly giving way to reusable cloth ones. Throwing a plastic bottle in the garbage rather than recycling will get you dirty looks. I even went to a play in London one time at a carbon-neutral theatre. The world is going green.
After “planting” trees in my office, I started to wonder about how the publishing world has been going green. If you think about it, the magazine publishing world seems like the least likely candidate for being eco-friendly: magazines out nearly every month and what isn’t sold (which, let’s face it, is becoming a larger number all the time) simply gets thrown away.
So how is the book publishing industry specifically going greener? I spoke to Stacie Buterbaugh, the art director here at TSTC Publishing, to see what goes on in this office.
Since she and I began working together, we have managed to reduce the amount of paper we use during our proof sessions (print out a manuscript and pass back and forth and then print out a fresh copy) by printing double-sided. We also have a large recycling bin in the office, where we put all the paper once we are done. These may seem like little steps, but they are a start.
Not long ago, several of us (Sheila, Stacie, Wes, and I) attended Clampitt’s Paper School in Waco. We wanted to learn more about paper options as well as know what paper to ask for when placing orders. While there, we received a book packet that detailed different ways to be more environmentally responsible as well as showing different recycling and eco-friendly stamps often see on paper packages.
In addition, the paper we print on in the office is “Super Premium Recycled Paper.” It is made of about 30 percent post-consumer recovered fiber. The paper most of our books are printed on carries the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) seal. That means the tree source comes from a managed or controlled forest source. This basically means the companies responsible for the trees plant as many, if not more, than they cut down, maintaining a sustainable business.
The publishing industry still has a ways to go before it is completely eco-friendly, but here at TSTC Publishing, we are taking small steps toward that direction.
In honor of the tree-hugger in all of us, here are a few ways in which you can be a bit greener, too:
- Go to National Geographic’s Green Guide to see what impact your house and appliances have on the environment. The guide also shows you certain changes you can make that are not only good for green, but will save you some as well!
- Become a coffee snob! Most of us cannot get by without our daily dose of coffee (myself included). Instead of going for the mass market stuff, which usually tastes terrible anyway, look for organically grown, Fair Trade approved bags of beans. The flavor is better, and the eco-impact is better.
- Go to the Free Carbon Footprint Calculator from The Nature Conservancy and find out just what your carbon footprint really is.
- Take a plant to the office. In a weird, highly scientific way, having a plant in your office actually acts as a natural air conditioner, which in Texas is a must-have. I will let you read just how this works at The Natural Conservancy’s Everyday Environmentalist page.
- Spend the extra money and get a reusable water bottle. If you’re worried about drinking tap and regularly being able to find a filtered refill, try the Water Bobble. The Water Bobble has its own filtering system, which makes it great for traveling. Pour the water in and it filters as you drink. It’s a little more money to start off with, but you won’t have to keep shelling out $1.50+ for a bottle.