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Typing 2021 is so weird. My fingers are basically 2020202020202020 everywhere.

Anyways.

So in my average day life, I try to be sustainable and eco-friendly as much as I can. I’m not a huge believer of being zero waste because I think corporations and business should be zero waste. Consumers don’t contribute as much to it as large companies do.

However, I think the average person can strive to be more low waste in their every day life. There’s a million ideas out there about how to be so, but for 2021, I wanted to share some eco-friendly ideas related to books and writing.

If you’d like to learn more about being more sustainable and low waste, let me know and I can share more tips about it.

One: Buy Less

Alright, so our economy runs on buying things and we have seen when we stop buying things, the economy goes to trash.

However, what is really eco-friendly more than anything is just buying less things. I’m not perfect in this, I love growing my bookshelf and buying clothes and decorations. But I am trying to buy less next year and be happy with what I have while I declutter. I moved recently and had what felt like honestly too much. So I’m trying to cut down so I don’t have as many boxes.

It’s a struggle honestly.

When it comes to books, instead of buying new books, we can use our local libraries more often, attend to our Free Little Libraries, and set up book swaps with friends. Those are great ways to save money and not own as many books.

Two: Buy Secondhand

When in need of a book and unable to borrow one, the second best thing you can do is to buy secondhand. I would say 90% of my waredrobe is now secondhand, however my books have a long ways to go.

Good places to look for secondhand books though are library sales, community sales (Our local Planned Parenthood has a huge book sale every year), Half-Price Books, Facebook Marketplace, and other secondhand shops.

Three: Donate, Re-gift, and Sell Your Books

Never throw away a book if you don’t like it anymore, always try to donate books when you can. Books can be really expensive and not everyone can afford to keep up with the latest release in Barnes and Noble. So if you can donate books to shelters, libraries, schools, and other places, try that first.

If you’re in need of some cash, you can sell your books to Half Price Books or list them at a discount on online reselling places like FB Marketplace, Offer Up, and Ebay. Or try a garage sale.

You can re-gift books to someone you think would really enjoy it rather than buying them a brand new copy. Or buy them a giftcard to a local bookstore is good too.

Four: Reuse and Recycle Books

Sometimes we come across books that are too old to be read in anymore and enjoyed. So in these situations, getting crafty and turning your book into art is a great way to save it from going to the landfill. You can tear out the pages and draw on them, turn them into jewelry, turn them into a mural, or so many other things. Be really creative with your DIY book crafts.

If you’re a writer and you love to handwrite, I really enjoy everyone to look into making their own paper. If a book is a really worn out, you can rip up the paper, flowers, and other materials, and learn how to make your own paper.

If you want to bind them into a notebook, there are a lot of really easy DIY methods for bookbinding out there.

Five: Support Local Bookstores and Libraries

The carbon emissions from buying books online is huge. Books can get really heavy which costs more to ship which costs more in the amount of energy that takes. If you still have local bookstores around you, one of the best ways to be sustainable is to buy from small local shops instead of Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

If they don’t carry the book you really want, ask the shop owner if they can get you a copy. Driving out to get books does also contribute to carbon emissions, however arguably it’s a choosing the lesser evil situation here I think.

Six: E-books or Paper?

I go back and forth on this one actually. E-books are very convenient, usually cheaper, and save trees from being turned into paper.

However, paper books are just always special, can support local bookstores, easier to gift and share, and don’t require electricity to be read.

You can actually rent e-books now through the library, so if you don’t want to support Amazon or Barnes and Noble to get e-books, that’s another great way of doing it.

Let me know what you think in the comments about this one.

Seven: Other ways to be sustainable and bookish

  • Turn off your e-reader when you’re not using it
  • Un-plug your charger when not using it
  • Turn on a lamp or just the over head light, not both at the same time or multiple lights. Also use more energy efficient bulbs.
  • Read by sunlight if possible.
  • Keep your physical books in good condition so they can be loved by someone else at a later time.
  • Make tea for your reading or writing session using reusable mug, loose leaf tea, a reusable strainer, and a kettle or the microwave.
  • I personally think more books should be printed on recycled fiber papers.

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