Lots of people are becoming more conscious of the environmental cost of the items they purchase, down to plastic content of our bottles of pop or fast fashion. One item that isn’t often considered for it’s environmental impact is our books. It takes one tree to make 25 books on average and millions of books are published globally each year.

Of course there are ways to reduce the impact of paper products by using recycled materials or paper from sustainable sources but how many publishers are actually implementing these? Well did you know what you can often tell the type of paper used in production by looking by your barcode for your books FSC logo.

book sustainability

Who Are The FSC?

The FSC are the Forest Stewardship Council and they are working towards sustainable forest management. If their logo in present on the back of your book this means that they are sourcing wood responsible and that worked are provided with a fair wage and working environment. You might have seen a few different versions of their labels on your book covers, there are three types that all mean different things.

FSC 100%

If you see the FSC logo on it’s own or with 100% below is this means that all materials used come from responsibly managed FSC-Certified forests.

FSC Recycled

The FSC Recycled logo means that your book has been produced using 100% recycled materials.


FSC Mix means that your book has been made with a mixture of wood from FSC-Certified forests, recycled materials and/or FSC-Controlled wood.

book sustainability

Most books will have the standard FSC logo, meaning that the paper used to create the book is FSC certified and has came from a responsibly managed forest. Many books will not have an FSC logo, likely meaning that the publisher opted for cheaper paper that likely did not come from a responsibly managed source.

The problem however does not stop at paper being sourced from responsibly managed forests. Publishing new books is resource heavy, from the impact of harvesting raw materials to the bulk distribution to readers. The good news is that organisations are beginning to commit to change and groups pushing for change like Publishing Declares encouraging authors, publishers and booksellers to sign a pledge for more environmentally conscious practice.

Reading preloved books is a great way to save trees and make the most out of books already out in the world! Take a book at our preloved book boxes here…