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Green Guilt Anyone?Saw this article tonight on "Digg."  (If you haven't...

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted March 18, 2008 at 7:08 PM via web

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Green Guilt Anyone?

Saw this article tonight on "Digg."  (If you haven't joined yet, ask me how.  It's way cool.)

Anyway, the title of the blog piece is:  Offsetting Enviromental Impact of Books. 

http://digg.com/environment/Service_allows_you_to_offset_environmental_impact_of_books

Since I am probably personally responsible for the delpletion of 1/3 of the rainforests due to my book addiction, I was intrigued at first.  But 9/10ths of the books I buy are 2nd/3rd/4th hand.  Is there any point? 

Would you consider this proposition? I was amazed at the bitter replies on both sides of the issue. 

11 Answers | Add Yours

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alexb2 | eNotes Employee

Posted March 18, 2008 at 7:49 PM (Answer #2)

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Fascinating. It's something I hadn't really considered, even though I love books and buy lots of them. Everything we do has some environmental impact, but books seem like such a "universal good" that it's the last thing I would've thought of with relation to poisoning the environment.

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted March 18, 2008 at 8:35 PM (Answer #3)

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A bit of a rant here, but if we want to save needlessly issued paper, how about a complete stoppage of phone book delivery?  We get FOUR different sets we never use.  It makes me mad.  There will also be stacks and stacks set out on pallets at the beginning of each year which we teachers are supposed to "help ourselves to." By the end of the week, sometimes the plastic isn't even ripped off; if it is, I bet less than 6 were taken. 

Anybody know of any bills to get this useless waste stopped?

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted March 18, 2008 at 9:13 PM (Answer #4)

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Amen to phone book waste! I never use mine. Nashville is not a huge city, but we get three phone books a year. About a bill to get it stopped--didn't we just stop paying a tax on our phone bills that was originally meant to pay for the Spanish-American War???

Aren't most books made of recycled paper anyway? I remember having to make sure the "This book is made of acid-free recycled paper" statement was on the copyright pages of the books I copyedited.

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted March 19, 2008 at 5:16 AM (Answer #5)

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I hate the phone book! Get a computer or call 411. I work at a school in a very rural farm town with kids who live far below the poverty line and those kids manage to always have a cell phone, a HUGE TV, and a computer or easy access to a computer. I get so annoyed with people like this nut who didn't do his research about how paper for books is made. 

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 19, 2008 at 6:08 AM (Answer #6)

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I also have a book addiction.  I do believe that many books are printed on recycled paper, and there are plants that grow more quickly than trees which can be used for paper production.  Bamboo also grows more quickly, has a multitude of uses, and can also create paper that it strong and lasts a long time.  Jamie, I agree with you.  I buy most of my books second or third hand from Amazon or Ebay.  Many of my books I lend out and borrow from others...so what's the big deal here?

One of the things I loved most growing up in Hopkinsville, KY, was the new and used book store on Fort Campbell Blvd.  You could buy new books or used books, and the used books could be purchased by trading in other used books.  I would read a dozen at a time and bring them in for another dozen--no money exchanged.  I got many of the classics I had to read for school for very little money--25 cents to $1.  That SO ROCKS.  Maybe book exchanges like this are the answer?

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted March 19, 2008 at 7:56 PM (Answer #7)

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One of my favorite places to get good books cheaply is the Salvation Army.  Titles that appeal to us literary types are always on clearance, which means hardbacks are a buck and trade and paperbacks 50 cents.  Think about it:  the people who typically donate to charity tend to be better off, often college grads who no longer want to lug around their scholarly texts.   And so many books are donated that the stock changes weekly.  Check it out!  I still like Half Price Books, but you can't beat  for a dollar! 

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jlcannad | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted March 20, 2008 at 2:56 PM (Answer #8)

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I can't believe that book collectors are contributing to deforestation. Now, a lot of people buy books because they have to for a class, mark them up, and then throw them in the trash. Anything that ends up in the trash is going to become part of the pollution problem. I would put telephone books and poorly written textbooks into that category! But book collections???? Absolutely not. I have books that I love, that I read over and over, that I loan to students or gift to people that I believe might fall in love with them. That's not wasteful! And I'm with you on buying used books. I'm lucky enough to live near enough to attend the country's largest used book sale. Every year, a nurses' organization collects used books and then rents a fairground in Phoenix for the end-all be-all of used book sales. So, I'm not feeling any environmental guilt here.

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted March 21, 2008 at 6:08 AM (Answer #9)

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Amen to phone book waste! I never use mine. Nashville is not a huge city, but we get three phone books a year. About a bill to get it stopped--didn't we just stop paying a tax on our phone bills that was originally meant to pay for the Spanish-American War???

Aren't most books made of recycled paper anyway? I remember having to make sure the "This book is made of acid-free recycled paper" statement was on the copyright pages of the books I copyedited.

I agree with Jamie and Linda.  Before I'll ever give up my beloved paper books ("pry it from my cold, dead, hand" comes to mind), I'd better see some cutting back on phone books and junk mail...I know they can be recycled, but they shouldn't be created to begin with when they create that much waste in the first place!

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allyson | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted March 24, 2008 at 5:57 AM (Answer #10)

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A friend of mine supplies the paper for books. He thinks this argument is crazy because trees that produce books are grown from crop. He says that no paper supplier is going to ruin his own industry, so they they make provisions for constant supply and demand.

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted March 24, 2008 at 6:53 AM (Answer #11)

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A friend of mine supplies the paper for books. He thinks this argument is crazy because trees that produce books are grown from crop. He says that no paper supplier is going to ruin his own industry, so they they make provisions for constant supply and demand.

There really is nearly always more to the story.  Thanks, allyson, for letting us in on this!!!

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leagye | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted March 30, 2008 at 6:16 PM (Answer #12)

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Green Guilt Anyone?

Saw this article tonight on "Digg."  (If you haven't joined yet, ask me how.  It's way cool.)

Anyway, the title of the blog piece is:  Offsetting Enviromental Impact of Books. 

http://digg.com/environment/Service_allows_you_to_offset_environmental_impact_of_books

Since I am probably personally responsible for the delpletion of 1/3 of the rainforests due to my book addiction, I was intrigued at first.  But 9/10ths of the books I buy are 2nd/3rd/4th hand.  Is there any point? 

Would you consider this proposition? I was amazed at the bitter replies on both sides of the issue. 

Wow! It has been a very long time since I've seen/heard adults refer to one another as "f-ing retards." My opinion is not quite as passionate, mainly because I just don't know enough about either side of the issue. Is consuming more paper the best way to get more trees, or is cutting down on the use of paper the best way to save trees? My hair hurts just thinking about this. I just do not know enough about the recycling or forestry or paper industries to form a strong opinion. I basically buy re-used books because they are so much cheaper, and why create a demand for brand new products (hence, paper) when there are already manufactured products available? It seems like common sense. I do the same with music CD's when possible, even clothes now and then, if I find a great vintage clothing store. Getting back to the paper question, I think it would make a great investigative piece for an industrious journalist. Which side is more tree friendly?

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