Since Health Communications Inc., best known as the publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, is both a publisher and printer, the company has long been concerned about how the manufacturing of books impacts the environment. Its most ambitious effort dates to 1998, when HCI teamed with the National Arbor Day Foundation to create a program that would let the company replace the trees it uses to produce its titles.

Under the program, HCI donates $1 to the Arbor Foundation for every tree it uses in printing books; HCI spokesperson Kim Weiss estimates the publisher has contributed nearly $1 million to the foundation, which translates into planting one million new trees. The foundation plants the trees “wherever they are needed,” explained HCI production chief Mike Briggs.

Briggs noted that HCI also has a well- established recycling program in place. All returns, including hardcovers, which are de-bound, are sold to a recycling company. Although the price HCI receives is relatively low, recycling “is better than throwing the books away,” Briggs said. All of HCI's titles are printed using at least 15% recycled paper and the company is looking to increase its use of recycled paper. To that end, Briggs is accompanying his paper supplier to a seminar August 1.