Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Five tips for a greener bookstore

This guest post was written by Sarah Murray

More and more businesses are incorporating greener practices into to their offices and workspaces. From recycling and buying eco-friendly products to reducing light pollution and offsetting carbon emissions, big and small businesses are doing their part to help the environment. In 2011, a study by MIT suggested that sustainable practices are now a part of 70% of corporate agendas*. Not only do these practices have a positive impact on the environment but many businesses have also seen an increase in profits as customers are more likely to purchase from or work with a company that implements green practices.

Bookstores are by no means exempt from such eco practices and many have implemented greener initiatives. If you’d like to make your bookstore eco-friendly or  are simply looking for more ways to increase or build on your greener initiatives, here’s some simple tips to help you on your way!

Recycle posters
Working at a bookstore, I remember so many promotional posters being thrown out. However, I also remember many customers asking if they could have particular posters when we were finished with them. Reduce paper wastage by selling old posters, you’ll be surprised at how many people would love to hang up a poster about the latest Jack Reacher novel or Sandman graphic novel. Alternatively, if you can’t sell posters, ensure you make a concerted effort to recycle the posters but using them in some form in the store or starting a paper recycling bin (if one doesn’t exist).

Use low wattage bulbs
Most business and homes now use energy saving bulbs. This is particularly prevalent in the UK with inefficient bulbs being phased out in favour of energy saving ones. If you’re still using high wattage bulbs, consider swapping for more energy efficient ones. Not only will they save you money in the long run but they’re also better for books as bright lights can often fade and yellow pages.

Stock environmentally friendly products
Support your bookstore’s eco-friendly practices by stocking products from businesses who also implement greener strategies. Whether its products which have been created ethically, such as pencils made with recycled materials, or books whose publishers aim to reduce their energy usage, such as Penguin, supporting these businesses will increase your green status, furthering your eco-friendliness!

Print on demand
This service is popular among universities (often the leaders in eco-friendly bookstores) who offer the service for certain text books or courses papers which don’t need to be stocked in bulk. While this may not apply for commercial bookstores it’s still an interesting practice to instill, even just among printer friendly staff! Instead of taking this literally, implement this as a motto for your business. If you distribute a newsletter or send reminders for customers to collect an ordered book do it via email so you’re not wasting paper.

Implement reusable carrier bags
Like many supermarkets, bookstores should also encourage their customers to use re-usable bags. If you still stock plastic bags in store, consider charging a small fee for them to encourage customers to bring their own. Alternatively, offer an incentive to those who do bring their own bags, you could give a stamp for every time they bring their own bag and when they collect a certain number they can have a small gift or a percentage off their next purchase. 
Let us know, have you got any other ideas for making your bookstore eco-friendly?

*Statistic from Earth
Image credit: Spot Cool

Author bio:
Bookworm Sarah Murray works for Appliances Online. When she’s not reading the latest crime thriller she enjoys nothing more than browsing through the shelves of a well-stocked bookstore. Follow her life on Twitter.