Monday, March 03, 2008

Small Business Grows "Green" Results

How can a small publisher who produces paper books be sensitive to the environment? It seems almost like an oxymoron for such a paper-intensive business to be "green."

Oregon-based RLI Press, the publisher of travel information including the award-winning book, Live Your Road Trip Dream, had been struggling with this dilemma since their inception in 2003. Early efforts included obvious efficiencies like recycling and/or reusing all paper products in their office, recycling of ink cartridges from printers, using electronic communications instead of paper communications whenever possible, and recycling cast-off office goods on But their consumption of trees and other environmentally-sensitive products in their book production activities continued to bother them.

While recycled paper has been around for quite some time, it wasn't of the quality that was needed for their products. That is until this spring's release of the second edition of Live Your Road Trip Dream. Print broker, Bob Smith of BookPrinters Network, was able to secure from Bang Printing in Minnesota a white, recycled paper (containing 30% post-consumer recycled fiber), of high enough quality for the new edition. It is this "eco-friendly" paper that becomes the basis for the savings calculation of trees, water and energy below. Another feature that was attractive about Bang's environmental commitment is their use of all vegetable-based inks in their printing process.

And what about the subject of their award-winning book? Road trips consume a lot of fuel energy, don't they? The authors, Phil and Carol White, are quick to point out that they advocate traveling in smaller, more-efficient RVs (they got over 20 mpg on their recent publicity tour in a Roadtrek Class B motorhome) and also point out that while they consume more auto fuel while traveling, they aren't consuming energy in a house that requires far more fuel than an automobile or small RV; or consuming airplane fuel and hotel energy jetting around the country.

When RLI Press realized that their printing "dream" could finally come true along with their authors' travel dreams, they joined the Green Press Initiative ( in support of other publishers and printers, like Bang Printing, who were making the environment a priority in their businesses. As a result, the second edition printing of "Dream" will save 13 trees, 617 pounds of solid waste, 4,804 gallons of water, 1,157 pounds of greenhouse gases, 9 million BTUs of energy. An e-book version of their new edition will also be available this spring in order to further their environmental commitment. Not bad for a now "green" small business from Oregon.