Reading is one of the oldest and most popular pastimes. There is nothing like curling up with a good book on a rainy day. As a book lover myself, I often face the moral dilemma of wanting to buy my own version of my favorite novels despite my love for the environment—especially trees. According to the New York Times, the publishing industry is one of the biggest polluters and contributors to global warming. “In 2008, the U.S. book and newspaper industries combined resulted in the harvesting of 125 million trees, not to mention wastewater that was produced or its massive carbon footprint.” So how can book lovers decrease their impact on the environment?
The most sustainable solution would be to purchase an electronic book reader such as a Kindle, a Nook, or a tablet. The NYT states that the carbon emitted over the life of these kinds of devices is offset after just one year of use. Buying e-books also tends to be cheaper than the printed version.
The second solution would be to rent or borrow the books from your local library. In most states, getting a library card is free, or extremely cheap. With a library card, you can borrow books and even movies for free, whenever you want. If your local library doesn’t have a particular book you want, they will usually borrow it from another library for you. Most libraries even let you borrow e-books!
However, if you are really set on have a physical book that you can call your own, try stopping by a used book store or a thrift shop before buying a brand-new version. Reusing an old copy is much more sustainable than buying a new book.
Written by Alyssa Lemire, Class of 2017
Photo provided by Pixabay