A Practical No-Returns Program Designed to Help Save the Earth

August 2007
by Mike Dyer

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Last August Margo Baldwin, publisher and founder of Chelsea Green, wrote
an article for Publisher’s Weekly titled “Zero Waste P

A Practical No-Returns Program
Designed to Help Save the Earth


by Mike Dyer


For the last nine months, a
management working group at Chelsea Green has been actively researching,
evaluating, and discussing ways to address the book-publishing industry’s impact
on the environment. Of course, the first and most obvious impact of books and
bookselling involves the use of paper, and many publishers are already
switching to recycled materials and making use of technology like
print-on-demand to curb waste and excess.


But conscientious printing
practices are not the only part of the publishing process where we can
significantly curb waste. Given the total number of books shipped last year and
the average rate of returns, we found that an extra 1,305 million pounds of
books traveled an extra 59 million miles, consumed 8.4 million gallons of
diesel fuel, and released 188 million pounds of CO2 into the
atmosphere. And these figures don’t include returned books being reshipped to
vendors, or damaged returns being sent to a recycler or, worse, to a landfill.


Obviously, the environmental
impact of returns needs to be addressed, and it’s up to both p…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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