Certain books carry a special comforting mark on the back of the first printed page. The Forest Stewardship Council affixes its green initials (FSC) in a corner of those recycled paper products, which are sustainable and traceable to both the forest they derive from (distantly) and those who process them. Greenpeace long ago launched a campaign to mobilize publishers and writers to rally around the subject of recycling.
But it really should be the readers who mobilize. Even this disaster produces shocking figures: every three seconds an area of forest the size of a football field is cleared. In Italy softwood cellulose fibers from centuries-old trees are still being used. But why is there so much natural waste? All books will eventually turn yellow, either on a shelf or by passing through many hands. It’s in their beautiful nature.
The best recycled paper is not bleached with chlorine-based polluting treatments. In a sustainable book, the story is not just what unfolds on the page, but also the story of the past lives of the book itself. No longer printed on pure white, but rather a new shade of pearly, ivory, or antique white – and sweeter to the eye.