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Truffle Babble

Sustainable Reading Tips (that aren’t just ‘read more e-books’)

As I’ve gotten older and become more educated on climate change and the impact that humans are having on the environment, I’ve become a lot more aware of how I spend and utilise my resources and how they can affect the earth. First I got myself into minimalism, then most recently, I’ve been doing more research on ways to be more sustainable in my reading hobbies as well.

In most posts out there, the number one tip tends to be: get a kindle or any kind of e-reader and save the planet by not buying physical books. While that’s great and all; despite not having any aversions to reading on an e-reader, there are other ways to be sustainable without having to ditch my physical books or force myself not to buy them.

Here are a few little tips to be more sustainable, that aren’t just – read more e-books!


Borrow From The Library Or Buy Second Hand

I feel like these are a no-brainer. Buying second hand or borrowing the library is a cheap (free in the library’s case) way to avoid buying brand new books from the local bookstore. This reduces your carbon footprint because you are buying from existing resources rather than creating more printing demand in bookstores.

This tip isn’t for everybody, and I’m guilty of that. I love new books! They smell weirdly great and it feels like something I can put a little of myself into when I tab it and will likely keep it forever. However, I do want to borrow more from my local library. It means I never have to face the situation of buying a brand new book, and hating it – which would lead to waste. Libraries have huge catalogues of books you might not have heard of before if you only have one platform to find books in your community (like Goodreads or Instagram).

Another good way to counter that would be to donate books in good condition to op shops, local primary or secondary schools or even donate them to the library.


Look For The FSC Logo In Your Bookstore

This is a tip for bookstore lovers who prefer to buy new. Sure, buying a new book adds a bit more to your carbon footprint but making sure you buy from the right publishers is where you should then shift your focus. Not all publishers print and sell books with that FSC logo.

FSC stands for the Forest Stewardship Council and they’re a non-profit global forest certification system. This means that when a book you pick up at a bookstore has the FSC logo, you can sure that most of, or the entire book, is made from paper that has been sustainably sourced from eco-friendly managed FSC certified forests around the world.

Sustainability is becoming more important than ever in publishing as an industry that has traditionally relied on paper, so much so that Penguin Random House pledged to have 100% of their books FSC certified by 2020 (which they achieved!) and are aiming to be completely carbon neutral by 2030. Penguin Random House isn’t the only one; many other publishers also have goals to become more sustainable so we should definitely be supporting them for their efforts if we choose to buy new books.


For The Hardcore: Charge Up Your E-Reader With Solar

Last but not least, this handy tip is for the burgeoning e-reader addict that loves to read digitally. Just when you thought you were doing the best you could to be sustainable, you can be doing better.

One way to reduce your carbon footprint further would be to charge your Kindle or e-reader with solar power! I saw this while browsing my local Kmart and thought that this was awesome – a portable solar-powered charger. You can charge your Kindle, your phone; any devices with some sun – which is also perfect for readers who love to read outside or in a sunny indoor reading spot.


What did you think of my little tips? Let me know in the comments if you already do any of these to be more sustainable in your everyday life.

Until next time,

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8 Comments

  • erin

    This is such a wonderful post! One of my goals is to read more books that I’ve gotten from the library or on my Kindle, since it’s so unsustainable both environmentally and just financially to be buying books left and right! I honestly had no idea that the FSC logos were a thing, but that’s such a great tip! Thanks for sharing! ā™„

    • Tracy

      Second-hand books are so underrated! Op shops were my favourite places before I stopped myself from buying books haha and thanks! I’m glad you learned something new šŸ™‚

  • Julie Anna's Books

    These are really helpful tips, thank you! I love buying secondhand, my library has sales of donated books that support them and I get lots of books from there. I didn’t know about the FSC and the solar powered charger, that’s really cool!

    When it comes to donations I like to make sure that where I’m donating to can accept those items too. As I’ve been learning more about sustainability I’ve been finding out that some things that are donated just end up in landfill due to so much stuff getting donated šŸ™ so I like to make sure it’s going to the best place it can go!

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