Plant your Print

Twitter has been abuzz the past few days with multiple tweets and re-tweets (and re-re-tweets?) of the newest trend in sustainable publishing: a book you can plant. Yes, you read right, plantable print.

Novelist James Kaelan’s first book, We’re Getting On, is making the rounds (and quite a stir) in the eco-community. What is so remarkable is that the cover is manufactured with birch seed paper, allowing the reader to plant the cover back into the earth when they are done with it. Pretty neat.

This takes sustainability and recycling a step further than ever before, where the novel is not simply recycled and made into new paper, but is actually offsetting its own carbon footprint and helping the earth to grow stronger – from the ground up. Could you imagine the ecological impact if every book was made like this?

To add to this inherently eco-friendly message, TreeHugger reports that the author is doing his book tour by bicycle – yes you read that right too. Appropriately naming it the “Zero Emissions Tour”, Kaelan is going to ride a bike through 22 towns (1900 miles) in 40 days from Los Angeles to Vancouver.  His reasoning for this unusual promotion?

“…he recognises that it is difficult to be carbon free in the manufacturing of the book, no matter how hard one tries. So he wants to make the promotional part as emission free as he can. He will be staying at organic farms and eating vegan power bars…”

So the big question remains: do you keep the book on the shelf or plant the cover? Only time will tell…

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What is your company’s carbon footprint?

The environment is a huge topic of conversation lately. With the disaster going on in the Gulf, there is suddenly a huge spotlight on corporate responsibility. With these issues comes the topic of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), which are believed to be a huge cause of climate change. There are many ways companies are trying to do “the right thing” by reducing their carbon dioxide emissions, but the question remains: What can your company do to reduce its carbon footprint?

1. Choose the “right” suppliers.

As mentioned above, many corporations are focusing on sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint. When you make a conscious effort to buy products from these types of companies you are thereby reducing your company’s carbon footprint as well. Doing a little research to make sure you are buying from suppliers focused on the “right thing” can make a big difference.

2. Buy local.

When you are purchasing products, whether it is paper, postcards or binders, try to find products that are produced locally. This will not only reduce your carbon footprint but also support local businesses, both of which are great for the environment and economy!

3. Stay eco-conscious.

Reducing energy consumption in your daily activities can also make a difference. Something as simple as turning your monitor and lights off when you’re in  a long meeting, or shutting down your computer at night will drastically reduce your and your company’s carbon footprint while at the same time cutting costs – your CFO will love you for it!

There are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint with little effort and much of it is just staying aware of how your actions and decisions affect the environment. Keep in mind that the products you purchase and use every day add something to your carbon footprint so choose wisely!

Quantifying Environmental Impact

In today’s economy, very few manufacturers factor the environmental cost of a product or service into the retail price. If you were to factor in the environmental impact of a product’s entire lifecycle (from early design to withdraw from marketing), without forgetting cost associated with carbon neutral recycling, computers would not be $499, flat screen TVs would not be $799 and SUVs would not be $35,000. Products manufactured in the Far East would probably be far less competitive and the overall product design would be significantly different, using different raw materials for different attributes than landed cost. 

The question is what unit of measure should be used to quantify the cost of a good including the environmental impact or the benefit from one product versus another? Monetary cost (in dollars) is one way. You can account for all of the cost involved. Another way to assess total cost is through energy costs (in kilowatts); energy to harvest, produce, manufacture, distribute, use and dispose. 

Both schools of thought are relatively new. As of yet, there are no set standards for valuating and converting environmental impact to a unit of measure. The process is also quite complex, often the work of universities or environmental specialists. Some factors like cubic footage and transportation cost of various products are easy to quantify, but energy value of a pallet in a warehouse, boxes in a high rise building or quantifying the environmental impact of a disposed product in a landfill are more challenging.

Whatever becomes the reference and the exact quantification, it is obvious that using less material, less energy to produce and less fossil fuel to ship a product is key to reducing its lifecycle carbon footprint.

Where does your vinyl go?

Binders are used every day by businesses of all sizes. They typically are used until they begin to fall apart at which point they are no longer useful. When the vinyl cracks or rips or the rings lose strength, it’s time to replace your binder – so what do you do with the old one? Most likely you toss it in your office wastebasket, not thinking about the ramifications of that action. When vinyl binders are thrown into a regular wastebasket, they will end up in a landfill. Since PVC is known to be one of the “worst” plastics for the environment and is not biodegradable, those vinyl binders will sit in that landfill, causing environmental damage for years to come.

Of course there is the alternative to recycle your vinyl binder, but have you ever tried? It would include a laborious process of ripping vinyl off three (yes, three) separate pieces of cardboard, and attempting to remove metal rings which were riveted with a machine (i.e. not intended for removal). And then the question arises of what to do with the vinyl once you’ve removed it. Who has the time, energy or patience to do that?

Vinyl binders are harmful to the environment and difficult to recycle and until now they were the only option for looseleaf paperwork or presentations.

Enter the Low-Carb Binder™.

The Low-Carb Binder is an innovative product that simplifies not only the production process of binders, but perhaps more importantly, the recycling process. Made of 100% recycled chipboard and recyclable metal rings that can be attached upon receipt, the Low-Carb Binder changes the face of binders forever. They ship flat, are designed for easy disposal and can be customized to fit any brand with unique (and eco-friendly) spine wraps and labels. And you’re not sacrificing quality – Low-Carb Binders are just as durable as those harmful vinyl binders you’re currently using. See for yourself. Order a sample.

Reduce your carbon footprint. Go Low-Carb today.

Go Vinyl Free in 2010

Binders are used every day by businesses of all sizes. Traditional binders are made of cardboard covered in vinyl (which, may I remind you, is known to be one of the worst plastics for the environment) with a plastic overlay and metal rings permanently attached. Overall they are very inefficient, harmful to the environment and almost impossible to recycle.

With all of the environmentally friendly options available, there is no better time to go vinyl free and invest in recycled and fully recyclable binders. Making the switch from vinyl to recycled binders will immediately reduce your company’s carbon footprint and result in no added implementation cost.

When determining which route to take, always take into account these guidelines: Reduce, Reuse, Renew.  

  • Reduce
    The recycled binder you choose to use should contain no vinyl or polyvinyl chloride (clear plastic); instead it should be made from recycled chipboard.
  • Reuse
    Look for a high content of PCW (post-consumer waste) and ensure the binder is fully recyclable. Most importantly, make sure the rings are designed to be easily removed for simple recycling (many are not!)
  • Renew
    Does the company that makes your binders operate on wind power or renewable energy? Do they provide carbon neutral shipping?

Green Books N Binders does all this and more. Our patent-pending Low-Carb Binder is made from 98% recycled material and contains recycled metal rings that can easily be removed for quick disposal.

Low-Carb Binders are available in two unique designs:

1. Low-Carb Original Ships flat with recycled metal rings that can be attached upon receipt with a snap-in fastener.

2. Low-Carb Ready – Ships assembled with removable rivets that can be unscrewed for easy recycling.

There are many add-ons to choose from as well.

Recycled tabs can be ordered blank, or printed black & white or full-color. The print area ranges anywhere from tab to full-bleed.

Pockets and half folders are also available. Pockets come slotted on one side for business cards and on the other for CD/DVDs.

Recycled labels come blank with any order of Low-Carb Binders. They can be custom printed and attached prior to receipt.

The Low-Carb Binder is fully recyclable and is designed to be easily taken apart. It is the perfect solution for all of your archival and communication needs, both internally and externally. If you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint (and who isn’t?), go vinyl free in 2010 with the Low-Carb Binder; your customers will thank you for it!

Download the Low-Carb Brochure.

Request more information.

Have a Green Mother’s Day

As we all know, Mother’s Day is fast approaching this Sunday, May 9th 2010. While many of you may still be scrambling for gift ideas, there’s a ton of ways to show your appreciation in a unique way while remaining eco-friendly. Here are a few of our tips below:

1. Show off your green thumb.

Instead of sending flowers, bring Mom a flower instead (or bring seeds and help her plant them.) For a unique seed idea, check out www.seedballz.com.

2. Enjoy the outdoors.

It’s the perfect time of year for a relaxing walk. Enjoy nature before it gets unbearably hot (and it’s cost friendly too!)

3. Get Creative.

Instead of buying a card last minute at the store (likely with a large carbon footprint), make your own using materials you already have. Decorate a potholder, make a homemade frame or paint a plate and use that as your card; your mom will surely remember it for years to come!

Make this Mother’s Day one to remember. Give back to your mom (or grandmother, sister, aunt…) and give back to the Earth at the same time – every little bit helps! 

P.S. – If you absolutely have to buy a card, try to get one that’s made with recycled paper and is fully recyclable. See guidelines here.

Print Green for Earth Day 2010

Happy Earth Day to all!

We are wrapping up our last day at the ON DEMAND 2010 Expo in Philadelphia (Stop by Booth 312 if you’re there!) It has been a very successful show and while we are very busy, we’d still like to take some time to post some tips for developing eco-friendly presentation/convention materials (it IS Earth Day after all.) See the list we’ve compiled below, and if you think of anything we missed, leave a comment!

1. Print on recycled or high PCW content paper.
It’s good for the environment! Use papers that contain at least 30% recycled or PCW content or that are FSC or SFI certified. When you do this, you help promote re-forestation and keep trees growing.

2. Reduce wasted space.
When formatting your content, always remain conscious of the space you’re using. If you have a lot of unused space on a sheet of paper, consider printing it on a postcard size piece. Also, reduce your margins and font size if you want to add more information. Try to minimize the amount of blank space.

3. Reduce pages used.
Always print on both sides of your paper. You’ll use half the amount and not only be greener, but lower costs at the same time.

4. Work with a web-to-print company.
If you’re outsourcing your printing, be sure to use a web-to-print company whose majority of business is done online (upload files, view proofs, view history, etc.) It’s better for the environment and much more efficient!

5. Use recycled products.
If you’re printing perfect bound workbooks, or coil bound manuals, use a printer that produces recycled versions. Recycled products are available in the same quality you would expect from its more environmentally harmful counterpart.

6. Print what you need – when you need it.
Work with a printer that specializes in short-run, on demand printing. Find out the number of expected attendees and only print what you need so you don’t have extra copies that you will never use (especially if the information is time-sensitive).

7. Promote responsible disposal.
Remind everyone you’re presenting to that your pieces are recycled and FULLY RECYCLABLE. Encourage responsible disposal and you will be helping to make a difference.

Using some or all of these tips next time you print will not only reduce your carbon footprint but can also reduce costs. Do your part. For Earth Day 2010, help grow trees by printing green.