Used Books are Good for the Planet

Green tips By April 2, 2010 1 Comment

Used text books are good for the planet, right? Well that statement seems fairly easy to defend, but when you get down to the hard facts, it really becomes an interesting topic. When proving this hypothesis, the first question I wanted to answer was, “How many books come from one tree?” I soon realized this was not an easy question to answer because books and trees come in all different shapes and sizes. Determined not to give up on my quest for the tree book ratio, I dug deeper for some type of quantitative data to calculate how many average-sized books come from the average-sized tree. Eventually I stumbled across some interesting information. It turns out that most trees are not used for paper. In fact, only the unwanted parts are sent to make paper. The majority of paper is made from recycled materials.

So does the buying and selling of used books do much good for our tall green friends after all? Perhaps not as much as I had originally anticipated, but I still contend that used books are good for the planet, and here’s why. Do you remember the old saying “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”? Well, when paper is recycled to create new paper, it goes through a process that requires a lot of energy and resources, including the use of some dangerous chemicals. Not to mention all of the energy and resources that are used to print a copy of a new book that could have been bought “USED” instead. So even if new books are made from recycled paper, far more energy and resources are expended in creating them if we simply reused the books we have now. 

So perhaps buying and selling books on-line isn’t going to make you Captain Planet, but it does make a lot of sense. What makes even more sense is the economic impact buying and selling used books has. In a national, and even global time of economic uncertainty, buying and selling used books does more good than you might think. Selling your books on-line, especially text books, provides a low-cost alternative for students to buy the books they need for school. Many individuals lose their jobs during an economic downturn, and in an effort to make themselves marketable for new employment, they return to school to learn new skills. Very often these students cannot afford to pay full price for their books. Thus, by selling your books on-line, you are not only earning extra income for yourself and helping the environment, you’re making it easier for someone out there to get an education, which is definitely good for the planet.

So go ahead and round up all those old books and use to find the best places to sell them. You’ll earn some money and help the planet!