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Sustainability at Janus Books 🌱

What do we mean when we talk about sustainability?

"Sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." What is Sustainability? (McGill)

"Sustainability presumes that resources are finite, and should be used conservatively and wisely with a view to long-term priorities and consequences of the ways in which resources are used." – What is Sustainability? (UCLA)

The three pillars of sustainability are social sustainability, environmental sustainability, and economic sustainability, sometimes shortened to: people, planet, and profit.

A few of our sustainability initiatives so far:

  • our books have always been second-hand, meaning they are reused and diverted from landfill or recycling
  • we have supported local literacy and social organizations over the years and have plans to increase that support
  • we have partnered with Bullfrog Power to reduce our carbon emissions footprint and support renewable energy in Canada
  • we use recyclable and compostable shipping materials and shopping bags, and encourage customers to bring their own bags

I will have have more to share about our sustainability initiatives in the next few months. For now, I'd like to offer a brief case study that helps illustrate our approach so far.

Watch this space: we're just getting started. 🌱

Kieran Dunn
Owner, Janus Books
August 9th, 2021


Receipt Paper - A Case Study

In 2019, while doing a waste audit, we learned that most thermal paper receipts contain toxic chemicals that prevent them from being recycled, so we looked for an alternative and switched to EcoChit thermal paper receipts.

The new EcoChit receipts have numerous benefits. Most thermal receipt paper contains the toxic chemicals BPA or BPS and should not be recycled, as those chemicals could end up in products like toilet paper, napkins and food packaging. EcoChit thermal receipt paper is BPA and BPS-free, and is thus safe to recycle. Our old receipt rolls came with a black plastic core, while our new receipt rolls contain a more eco-friendly cardboard core. EcoChit receipt rolls are produced from sustainably managed forests, and for each case we purchase $1 is donated to One Tree Planted, a non-profit reforestation organization.

In 2020, we added the option to receive receipts by email or text message.

By encouraging the acceptance of digital receipts, we have been able to drastically reduce the number of receipt rolls we consume. These days we use less than a single roll per month -- we used to consume a whole roll every two days! This means a significant cost savings, and less resource usage overall.

The Bottom Line

How did switching suppliers and changing how we issue receipts affect our sustainability goals?

People

  • reduced exposure to toxic chemicals for customers and staff

Planet

  • by offering a digital option, we use less paper overall
  • our receipts are now recyclable, as they are non-toxic
  • a recyclable cardboard core means less plastic waste
  • our receipt paper supplier supports reforestation and sustainable forestry

Profit

  • by reducing the number of rolls used, we reduce costs

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions on our sustainability practices, please don't hesitate to reach out. We are always looking for ways that we can do things better.