The Green House Effect
Way back in 1999, before we'd ever published a book in anger, I got a call from my friend Erin Johnson, whom I'd known from her days as an advertising representative with NAPRA Review
, asking if I'd be interested in signing up with the Green Press Initiative
. The newly launched venture aimed to get the book publishing industry in the United States to use more recycled paper content and generally stop the wholesale destruction of forests simply to make books.
I signed on immediately. I didn't care about any perceived costs or supply issues. It was the right thing to do, and it chimed in with my values and the values of this company. Apparently, Lantern was the first to sign, and about one hundred other presses signed on too. Although Lantern can't claim credit for the other houses, it's nice to know that we were number one, for once.
This being America, however, a thing don't mean much until it is declared to be important by a major corporation. And that's what's just happened. Today, Random House
announced that, according to its own press release, "by 2010 at least thirty percent of the uncoated paper it uses to print the majority of its U.S. titles will be derived from recycled fibers." At present, it's at three percent.
Now, I'm sure there are convenient loopholes, and thirty percent isn't 100 percent, and recycled fibers doesn't mean post-consumer waste recycled fibers. But it's a start. And no longer can the other major corporations point to the small publishers like Lantern and say, "It's all right for you; your costs are small and you have more flexibility. You don't understand how hard it is for us." Now, we can point back and say, "Talk to Random."