Eco-Libris Makes Greener Reading

According to the Eco-Libris website, about 20 million trees are cut down every year to produce books in United States alone. So, how can we keep reading without leaving behind a heavy carbon footprint in the process? We can print books on recycled paper , buy used books and we can also offset the environmental damage we've already made through Eco-Libris .

Eco-Libris is a form of carbon offsetting that allows book lovers, college students, teachers and everyone else to read their new and secondhand books with a greener and cleaner conscious. It gives all of us the ability to help restore demolished forest one book at a time. Colleges students, for example, are required to buy new or gently used books each semester (sometimes multiple books are required for just one class). Used books are not always easy to come by. Why? I blame greedy colleges, but my personal opinion aside can you imagine the impact colleges would have on the environment if every semester new and used books were offset with new trees?

To join donate a dollar for each book you'd like to offset. Eco-Libris, along with their planting partners , plants a tree for each book you've chosen to offset. Then Eco-Libris sends you a sticker printed on recycled paper to place on your offset books. Well actually, they plant a few extra trees just incase some of them don't survive.

For those of you who wonder if I ever participate in eco-programs I write about. Not always, but I do what I can, when I can. This time, I just happened to have had 5 extra bucks in my Pay Pal account so I went ahead and offset 5 of my secondhand books. The stickers are already stuck on the backs of my 5 most important books. Eventually I plan to work down my bookshelves. Considering that I have over 100 books in my office alone, in a couple of years my offsetting will have created a small forest of new trees. Sadly, I cant bring life back to the trees that have already been cut down for these books, but at least I can help have more trees planted in their place. It's a start and a start is better than nothing.

Tunes for Trees
Music lovers can also rest at ease with Tunes for Trees . The program is simple. For every ten itunes that are bought a tree is planted. There is no need to buy ten tunes yourself. Buy as many as you'd like and your itune purchase will accumulate with everyone elses. So, if you were already planning to buy itune go through Tunes for Trees.

Still Buying the Old Fashioned Way
Switch to itunes and think of the plastic that won't be used for CD cases. The paper that wont be used for the CD covers. Think of the CDs that wont stack up in your room and take up all that space. If you already have CD cases or other TechnoTrash stacked up at home or elsewhere, GreenDisk will take it from you, clean it up, renew/recycle and reuse it. You will have to mail it in, but if you get the right size box you'll probably only need to mail it in once. Earthology Records also reuses CD cases, but is currently not accepting anymore.

I want to stress that carbon offsetting should be used when there are no other green alternatives or with other green alternatives. Recycling, donating, used booksales, garage sales, and freecycling and encouraging publishing companies to print on recycled paper should be the first alternatives.

Via a Fresh Squeeze and Urban Eco .

Gloria Campos-Hensley
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