Friday, June 7, 2013

Print Books that are *Good* for the Planet

Being surrounded by the printed word (and intending to remain so my entire life--much as I enjoy ebooks, I like to keep paper copies for backup), I remain acutely conscious that it's called "dead tree"s for a reason. Also, ever since my trip to Ghana I've had a horror of plastic. It's bad enough seeing litter at the side of the road in the US, but I saw bags and discarded packaging piling up in places I never would have expected--water canals, forest, even the borders of cemeteries--and on a staggering scale. The thing is, Americans produce far more of the stuff than Ghana does, we just cram ours in landfills where it can't be seen...for now...

So I was ecstatic to discover it is possible with current technology to make books out of recycled plastic. I know of only one book made this way so far--Cradle to Cradle by Michael Braungart--by I live in hope that the method may catch on. 

Simon and Schuster also has a series of children's books printed on recycled materials.

I'm disappointed that the only recycled books I can find so far are explicitly on environmental topics. The innovation runs the risk of remaining inbred, while I think if it works it should be used where it counts--in all genres, fiction and nonfiction. Especially since plastic books, being waterproof, can be read in the bathtub. And I don't know about you, but I'm much more likely to read sweet romances or can't-put-it-down thrillers in the bathtub than proposals for environmental policy, however well-presented.