Cleaner, greener publishing

Green publishing processes can help save our trees It’s not surprising that publishing has a dramatic effect on the environment. Books are made of paper and paper is made from trees. But it’s not just the paper used in books, catalogues, brochures and reports that impacts on the environment. During the editing and production process where the print project is fine tuned, there is considerable additional paper used and the printing process is also environmentally unfriendly.

Making the book

During the editing and production of any one print job, the manuscript and galley proofs are printed many times for author corrections, for the substantive edit, for the copy edit and again for the proofreader. Often copies of the manuscript are also given to the graphic designer and indexer. That’s a lot of paper!

Reduce paper usage

Many editors, once wedded to hard copy mark up, have adapted to onscreen editing thus saving many trees and reducing the environmental footprint of print production. Another way to a cleaner, greener publishing process is to send PDFs whenever possible to the graphic designer and other key production team members.
Reducing the number of times a draft manuscript or galley proof is printed can make a big difference to paper wastage. And of course, recycling the paper that you do is a standard practice in many offices today.

Choose the least harmful paper stock

Select green options for paper stock. Publishers can make a decision to use environmentally friendly paper when printing. More businesses, including paper suppliers, are offering green choices to their customers.
Some of the paper options to look for:
• virgin fibre that is ‘old-growth free’ – that is paper from plantation forests grown specifically for commerce
• recycled stock from either pre-consumer waste (paper mill scraps) or post-consumer waste (from recycling projects).
While there is an argument that recycled paper uses considerable energy and nasty chemicals that do more harm to the environment than using trees cut down from forests, others suggest that the recycling process is still less harmful than the traditional tree-to-paper method.

Reduce the amount of chlorine used

Chlorine is used in the process of making paper white. The whiter the paper, the more chlorine is needed. Less than bright white paper not only uses less chlorine, it is also easier on the eyes for the reader. It is a win-win solution if hard copy is the preferred delivery method to your audience.

Consider publishing online

Send e-newsletters by email

Rather than printing 5000 hard copy newsletters, think about establishing an email newsletter program that manages all your mailing list email addresses and sends newsletters to individuals electronically. Build your database by adding a ‘send to friends’ option and give an incentive for your readers to send it on.

What about the ebook alternative?

Using web publishing methods such as ebooks is another option for getting your message to your target audience. Many people get their information from the Internet so publishing your annual report online can reduce the number of hard copies you print, save you money, and help you to help save the planet.

Become more environmentally aware

Introduce lots of green initiatives in the office.
• Make sure that computers are turned off when not in use. Computers in sleep or log out mode still use considerable energy.
• Recycle everything that you can – not just paper but also mobile phones, old computer equipment and general office stuff as well.
• Print both sides when photocopying and use the option ‘print two to a page’ when you can.
• Get a copy of the Australian Government’s Green office guide (as a PDF naturally) which is available from the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts website.

Back to publishing news

Contact Sue Stevens at Bold Type.