Kirsten MacQuarrie (on behalf of the Green Libraries Network)
A key problem that libraries across several sectors are encountering in their efforts to promote environmental understanding and action is the need to still rely on plastic book covers. Books definitely need protection and several library services have raised the issue with their suppliers, but the message remains that biodegradable options are not durable, transparent or flexible enough.
Libraries in Helsinki, however, have managed to stop their plastic cover use altogether, instead introducing a locally made sugar cane material, so we believe that alternatives are possible and would play an important role in making the book supply chain more sustainable.
We would need to meet with suppliers and other industry experts, understand exactly what barriers are preventing a shift from plastic to biodegradable covers, and continue to research international examples of alternatives being successful. The shift would take time to expand across UK libraries and we would also need to ensure that it was financially viable for services.
Establish/support a campaign for biodegradable library book covers across the UK.