Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Green printing tip no. 14: Can Directories be Green?

This week our series of green printing tips is getting back to its original spot which is Tuesday. Yes, every Tuesday we bring you a new green printing tip in collaboration with Greg Barber, an experienced eco-friendly printer.

Today we are talking about an interesting question that concerns something many of us automatically considered as junk mail, but at the same time is an important commercial tool.

Can Directories be Green?

Tip #14

Can your directories be considered green? That's a tough question especially when so many directories, such as phonebooks, are considered junk mail (did you know every year in the US, households receive 540 million unsolicited phonebooks creating an additional 650,000 tons of trash?).

But the answer is Yes. It can be and we'll provide you some ground rules to follow to keep your directory green, with a specific example from Avi Publishing, publishers of "Our Green Book", a directory of local green businesses and green organizations.

Rule no. 1: provide your directories only to people who want them
One of the main problems with directories is that they're
unsolicited advertising brought to your door, with no easy way to decline. You want to make it green - give it only to people who are actually interested in getting them.

"Our Green Book" is an example how you can do it - this directory is handed out at Whole Foods and Green Apple Cleaners to people who want them. That's it.

Rule no. 2: Use recycled and FSC-certified paper
Many directories are printed on non recycled stocks, which enhance their environmental impact. You should make sure you choose eco-friendly paper that will minimize your footprint. Avi Publishing for example, chose a recycled coated grade that is FSC certified, and contains PCW content. Also, the inks used for the directory's printing are vegetable based, and there are no chemicals used in setting up the press for printing.

Rule no. 3: Print close to distribution points
"Our Green Book" is printed at the Quad plants closest to the distribution points, so their Carbon Footprint is minimized. The Chicago and NY editions are printed in NY, and the San Francisco and Los Angeles editions are printed in Reno, Neveda.

Rule no. 4: Optimize the directory's size
You should optimize the directory's size to prevent unnecessary waste. The size of "Our Green Book" was chosen to yield little paper waste. It is a digest size.

Rule no. 5: Provide an online option
There are people and businesses who might be interested in your directory, but still prefer an online version of printed one, and you should be able to provide them with this option. Here's one example from Avi Publishing and another one from the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (SBN), which are making their members directory (which includes Eco-Libris who are a member) available online.

So the answer to the question is Yes. Just follow these rules.

If you have any questions about "Our Green Book" , please contact Greg at
Also, if you have any further questions following our tips, or you have a specific question you want us to address, please email us to info@ecolibris.net .

Links to the last three green printing tips:

Green Printing Tip #13- Are you looking for back to school environmental ideas?

Green Printing Tip #12 - How to preapre files for your next green digital run?

Green Printing Tip #11 - What are your green options when it comes to promotional items?

You can find links to all the tips we published so far on our green printing tips page, which is part of our green printing tools & resources.

You can also find further valuable information on Greg Barber Company's website - http://

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting green printing

We have a winner on the "Sleeping Naked Is Green" giveaway!

We had a giveaway of one copy of "Sleeping Naked Is Green: How an Eco-Cynic Unplugged Her Fridge, Sold Her Car, and Found Love in 366 Days" by Vanessa Farquharson following our review of this great book.

We asked you to share with us the most meaningful step you took so far to green up your lifestyle. We got very interesting replies and we have a winner!

Our winner is the reader marybelle who shared with us the following step she took:

I try to follow the
100 mile rule. If it is not grown or produced within 100 miles of where you live - don't buy it. It is not easy but by being creative & saying we don't really need it we manage rather well. It helps that we live near the market gardens though.

Congrats Marybelle! You won a copy of "Sleeping Naked Is Green: How an Eco-Cynic Unplugged Her Fridge, Sold Her Car, and Found Love in 366 Days". We'll also plant a tree for this book and you will get with the book our "One tree planted for this book" sticker.

Thanks also to all the participants in the giveaway. Please keep follow after our blog - we have a new giveaway almost every week!

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting sustainable reading!