2017's extremely popular BBC Blue Planet II TV programme and book brought the amount of plastic waste we generate as a country to light. As a result, it has sparked a very important national conversation about how we can all use less plastic and better protect our planet.
Here at Book People, we were all moved by David Attenborough's final speech on the programme and the call to do more to reduce our reliance on plastics and we know this is an important issue for many of our customers.
This is why we are exploring a variety of ways we reduce our use of plastic as a business and are constantly looking at new plastic-reduction initiatives, from how we mail our catalogue to how we package and send out our products to you, our customers.
We would like to update you on the progress we are achieving.
How We Print Our Catalogues
Book People send out a number of catalogues including our monthly consumer catalogue and a variety of catalogues for education providers throughout the school year.
In April 2018, we stopped printing our schools catalogue covers using matt laminate, which means all our catalogues are now fully recyclable and printed on paper from a sustainable source. You'll find the recyclable logo on the back of every Book People catalogue.
How We Mail Our Catalogues
In 2018, we significantly reduced the use of plastic wrap used when mailing our school catalogues, which are sent out to nurseries, primary and secondary schools across the UK and Ireland.
Almost all of our school catalogues are now sent 'naked mailed' which is an industry term for mailings without any wrap or envelope on them at all. The only exception is when we need to include additional resources within the catalogue that are at risk of falling out or damage.
So far, this has been a highly effective means of reducing our plastic usage and we will continue to send out our schools catalogues in this way.
In 2018, we began trialling new methods for sending out our consumer catalogues in paper envelopes. We are delighted to let our customers know that this trial was successful, and from now on, all catalogues will be mailed in a paper envelope. This change means that for 2019, we will avoid sending 27.552 tonnes of plastic into landfill.
How We Package Our Books
Shrink wrapping book sets is the current industry standard to ensure books are not damaged during shipping, picking, packing or when in transit, and to reduce the amount that are returned and pulped.
Due to the various stages your books go through from printing through to delivery, removing this packaging entirely is not possible. However, shrink wrap plastic waste is an industry-wide problem that publishers are presently working on resolving.
We are in discussions with our publishing contacts to find alternative means of binding books that will be just as effective as shrink-wrap, with less harm to the environment. When these alternatives become available, we will introduce them into our business.
Eliminating Plastic Bags From Our Book Events
We are looking at ways to eliminate plastic bags from our Book Events. As part of this, we've asked our customers to vote on which preference they would prefer out of the following on our Facebook and Twitter poll:
- Do not sell any type of bag
- Introduce re-usable fabric tote bags
- Offer paper bags for all purchases
- Other (we welcome your ideas)
We will be letting customers know which of these preferences was the most popular on our blog, so check back for more updates.
We're Always Looking For Ways To Reduce Plastic
Book People are committed to continuing our efforts to reduce our plastic waste. The feedback from our customers is very important to us and as discussions surrounding plastic waste continue, we aim to play our part in reducing the use of plastic in the publishing and book retail industries now and in the future.