Disposable books • 22 July 2008 • The SnowBlog

Disposable books


(somewhat) eco-packaged headphones

I'm starting to notice reviewers of various high-tech goods also giving opinions on the packaging of the gadget in question. Too much? Too wasteful? Or in the case of the all-cardboard packaging in which Sennheiser ships some of its headphones: singled out for praise. And you'll be aware of how far ahead of the UK countries like Switzerland or Germany are when it comes to rules about recycling. Presumably their lead will exert some influence on us to follow. Which brings me to a point I made a while back: how long before someone's eye alights on a paperback bestseller and it dawns on them that this is just cheap, disposable packaging for text that could be delivered in other ways? Some people are already talking about CDs that way: pointing out that pressing millions of shiny disks, putting them in cases, driving them around the country just so that someone can end up with a few extra strings of digits on their iPod is rather wasteful. Should a decent eReader emerge, that's satisfactory for reading thrillers and romances on, won't the same logic be applied to the millions of novels a year that are read once and then spend uncounted years gathering dust? Lately I've been frightening the life out of myself by looking at predictions of what will happen to our climate if we don't take massive action in the next seven years. Then I take a quick glance at the newspapers and note that none of this action is either underway or really under serious contemplation. Which presumably means we'll see a series of climate-related cataclysms and everyone will suddenly wake up to the drawbacks of a disposable economy. Might massmarket paperbacks be an early casualty of an anti-waste backlash?


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