Performing arts organizations provide essential services that enrich their communities. Unfortunately, some of the ways that organizations connect to their audiences also contribute to pollution and waste. Printed program books offer a strong example of this because producing paper creates a lot of pollution, and the books often end up in landfills.
Just one typical season of performing arts program books emits 161,000 pounds of CO2 and consumes 28.5 tons of trees.
Digital program books offer a new publishing model that can help performing arts organizations cut 90% of their CO2 emissions, save trees, and contribute to sustainability efforts in their communities and around the world.
As someone making decisions within a performing arts organization, the old publishing model probably seemed like a sustainable option. After all, you can encourage patrons and audience members to recycle paper programs.
Much more goes into producing program books than paper.
During the typical season, a mid-sized performing arts organization might print six program book editions. You might print 15,000 books for each edition. Each book probably consists of about 48 pages.
You can expect your printer to use 45,000 sheets of 19″ x 25″ paper to create 15,000 48-page program books. With six editions during a season, that comes to 270,000 pieces of 19″ x 25″ paper.
Since 32,000 sheets of 19″ x 25″ paper weigh one ton, the season’s program books need 8.5 tons of paper. Before agreeing that the old publishing model works well enough, consider that producing 8.5 tons of paper requires:
- 28.5 tons of trees
- 208 million BTUs of energy
- 197,000 gallons of water
The production process also results in 10,100 pounds of solid waste and 161,000 pounds of CO2. CO2 accounts for 79% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.
You can use the Environmental Paper Network’s Paper Calculator to estimate how your paper programs impact the environment.
The new publishing model helps your performing arts organization transition to digital program books. You can contribute to sustainability efforts while still printing programs. Eventually, though, you might embrace fully digital programs.
With the new publishing model endorsed by Audience Access, you can print slimmer versions of your program books by reducing your page count from 48 to eight. You can also reduce the quantity to 5,000 books per edition. A digital program book provides the rest of the information you would typically include in a printed program.
From this model, it takes 2,500 sheets of 19″ x 25″ paper to print 5,000 eight-page program books. That comes to 0.5 tons of paper for the season.
The improvements in sustainability are immediately obvious. Producing 0.5 tons of paper requires:
- 1.4 tons of trees
- 12.7 million BTUs of energy
- 13,700 gallons of water
You also reduce greenhouse emissions to 9,110 pounds of CO2. The solid waste generated during the paper-manufacturing process comes to just 552 pounds.
By using digital program books, you make the move toward sustainability by reducing your paper use, BTUs, CO2 emissions, gallons of water, and pounds of waste by at least 94% each.
Transitioning to a more sustainable publishing could help your performing arts organization become more appealing to the growing number of consumers who emphasize the importance of sustainability. Of course, you also contribute to the health of your community and the planet.
Digital program books offer even more benefits, though, that can help performing arts organizations succeed.
Paper program books cost a lot of money to design and print. Digital program books help you lower the amount of money you spend on those books. Instead of committing time, labor, and money to print publications, you can offer programs via text messages or online access.
Digital program books can encourage your supporters to spend more money before, during, and after events. For example, you can add a drink-ordering icon to your digital program. When patrons press the icon, they can browse your beverages, submit an order, and pay online. It’s a convenient, low-contact way to deliver refreshments right to someone’s seat.
You can also use your digital programs to encourage supporters to buy tickets for upcoming performances. The easier you make the experience, the more likely they are to commit now. You can grow your audience and revenue.
Digital program books provide a more immersive experience that will appeal to advertisers and donors. When reaching out to potential partners, you can show them the benefits of digital advertising. With digital programs, audience members are more likely to interact with ads and revisit the programs after the performance.
Adopting digital program books is easier than you might think. Audience Access can help you reach your sustainability efforts, lower costs, and increase revenues. You can create a free account today to see how it works. Start your sustainability journey today with Audience Access.