Monday, September 3, 2007

Read Books & Save Trees

I just learned of an interesting company called Eco-Libris. Eco-Libris works like a carbon offsetting company. But rather than neutralizing your carbon footprint through planting trees, Eco-Libris neutralizes your paper usage from your book buying habit. See, publishing companies often use virgin paper for books, which causes deforestation. (Also, paper production companies can be incredibly huge polluters, another environmental concern.) At Eco-Libris' site, you can pay $10 to plant ten trees, to offset the paper usage of 10 new books. The company works with a couple of non-profit planting partners to get the environmental action done. They are like middlemen in the process, connecting readers to eco-organizations.

When I look around my house, I see hundreds of books -- and therefore hundreds of trees that have been chopped down to print those books. Honestly, I've never thought of the environmental impact of my book buying addiction. I like books and I like the ideas that they transmit. This site opened my eyes to another aspect of my environmental imapct on the world, and it isn't pretty. Interestingly enough, even though they are a for-profit company, Eco-Libris' blog promotes other ways to limit your paper usage while still enjoying books.