Harry Potter is known for a lot of things. His lightning-shaped scar, his quidditch skills, his mysterious connection to Lord Voldemort, but being environmentally friendly? That’s a new one. Maybe we should thank J.K. Rowling instead, or better yet, how about Scholastic publishing? Either way, Muggles everywhere are rejoicing over the trees that will be saved in the name of the famous wizard.
What I am talking about is the biggest first-print run of a book ever, with 12 million copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows set for release next Saturday, July 21. I am sure that many of you are aware of this release date, but what makes this event even more momentous than its size and its subject matter is the fact that the books will be printed on 30 percent post-consumer waste, with 65 percent of the paper used in printing certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Rowling is expected to encapsulate the legacy of Potter and his pals in this upcoming book (the seventh of her hugely-successful series), whose 12 million first-run copies equate to about 17,000 tons of paper. This small step of using recycled materials in printing will save over 120,000 trees.
But the Green Press Initiative urges editors and publishers to continue on with this movement, as the U.S. book industry consumes more than one million tons of paper a year. That represents about 60 book printings that rival the size of this current Harry Potter release, and over six million trees that could be saved.
Random House is another recognizable corporation that has recently pledged to amend its printing practices to help the environment. To be exact, the company promises to increase its use of recycled paper tenfold by 2010. In addition to the Harry Potter publicity, which will certainly add fuel to the campaign, the Green Press Initiative boasts 140 publishers, ten printers, and five paper companies in the U.S. as allies in this cause. Furthermore, 2006’s Book Industry Treatise on Responsible Paper will potentially conserve five million trees each year once it is fully instituted, which sounds like good news (and more oxygen) for all of us Muggles.
For those of you tricked into thinking that this was a post solely devoted to Harry Potter, I apologize. Stayed tuned for more commentary, as I plan to be reading the novel alongside all of you at midnight on the 21st.