Eco-Friendly Ways To Read Books

Feb, 20, 2023

Eco-Friendly Ways To Read Books

Owning books is a wonderful thing! Especially if you are like me, someone who reads a lot. Buying books has its advantages. First of all, buying books pays the authors who, unless they are a major best seller like J.K. Rowling, need all the sales they can get; plus, you also help keep bookstores in business. It’s also fun to have books available at home to pick up at your leisure. However, buying books is not good for the planet since their production requires lots of trees. And it’s not good for your wallet, either. It’s estimated that in the U.S. alone, 30 million trees are cut down annually to produce books sold in the U.S. Because of chemicals used in production, the paper industry is a huge polluter of air, water and land. The bright side is that there is a movement afoot to come up with ways to make paper without cutting down more trees and using so many chemicals. By far, recycling paper for the use of making new paper is the most popular method.Eco-Friendly Ways To Read Books

According to the Worldwatch Institute, the effort in recycling paper around the world recovered about 110 million tons, or 43 percent, of all paper used. Unfortunately, we’re still not there yet, and recycling paper for making paper is moving a bit slowly, so many books are still made from trees.

So, if you (like me) are trying to live with as little impact on the planet as possible, you may tend not to buy many books. But don’t worry — there are still ways you can enjoy spending some time reading with less impact to the planet and your wallet:

eBooks—eBooks are becoming increasingly more popular. And why not?! It’s so easy to buy an eBook and download it to your computer or IPad these days. If you wish not to spend lots of money on books, then check out BookBub because, there, you can sign up for a free service and select your favorite genres; and you will get an email alerting you to free and discounted bestselling eBooks that can be used on Kindle, Nook, IPad, IPhone, Droid and others as well.

Library—My kids just love books. They read a lot, and love visiting our local library and borrowing books. Since getting a library card, I have not bought a new book for any of them in the past year. I even borrow books and movies for myself. Librarians are usually helpful and can order a book you wish to read if it isn’t available at the time.

Buy Used Books—Any time you see a flea market or garage sale, you’re almost guaranteed to find great deals on used books.

Borrow from Friends—My best friend and I, for as long as I remember, have been trading and borrowing books from each other. It’s a fun way to have someone to share thoughts about the book.

To learn more ways to save trees check out my post about saving the planet one paper at the time  

There are also tips for reducing paper waste when it comes to school supplies in my post about zero waste school supplies. 

Fredrika Syren

Fredrika Syren is an environmental activist and writer. In 2016, she founded the website Green-Mom.com where she shared her family’s journey of living zero waste. She lives in San Diego, California with her husband James and their children Bella, Noah, and Liam. Fredrika and her family were recently featured in the documentary Zero Time to Waste. Fredrika is also the author of Zero Waste for Families - A Practical Guidebook (which you can buy on this site)


  1. Reply

    Larraine Roulston

    April 17, 2017

    Nice article. My friends and I not only trade books, but also take books from our own shelfs and wrap them as gifts. We know they are not new, but they come recommended and that’s the fun of it. Also books from thrift stores are usual gifts for my grandchildren.
    A favorite gift within our family is a library book and to offer the person the time to read it before it is due back. By doing double duty on a few extra household chores and making them a cup of tea, they can enjoy and extended birthday. This also raises the library’s circulation count which helps to keep them open. LR

  2. Reply

    Amelia Davis

    March 10, 2023

    I just stumbled upon this post while looking for ways to reduce my carbon footprint. I’ve always loved reading and now I can enjoy my books guilt-free! I never knew that there were so many eco-friendly options available. I am definitely going to make the switch to e-readers and recycled paper books. Plus, using a bookmark made from recycled materials is a great way to show off my love for the environment. Thanks for the helpful tips!

    • Reply

      Fredrika Syren

      April 12, 2023

      Thank you!

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