A recent study in the New York Times found that the production of an ereader uses 33 lbs of minerals (such as coltan, which may not come from the Congo), 79 gallons of water, and 100 kilowatt hours of fossil fuels. Using these resources creates about 66 lbs of CO2. Printed books, however, only require a fraction of this. The production of ereaders also creates nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, and other toxins, which are known to cause chronic respiratory illnesses. The conditions in factories are a contributing factor to the overall environmental impact of these devices.
Printing books uses fossil fuels
Publishing a paper book consumes a large amount of fossil fuels, especially oil, in its production. In fact, a single paper book can require nearly a kilowatt hour of fossil fuels. Minerals are also used for roads in the book supply chain. In addition, the production process requires more than two gallons of water, resulting in more than 66 pounds of carbon dioxide.
The production of a paper book releases 7.5 kilograms of carbon dioxide, about ten times less than the production of an e-reader. However, paper books are also a major contributor to deforestation, which contributes to climate change. In fact, up to 14% of deforestation is committed for the sole purpose of producing paper goods. Furthermore, paper production requires a large amount of energy, water, and chemicals. Each page of a paper book requires at least two glasses of water.
E-readers reduce CO2 emissions
An e-reader reduces carbon emissions by reducing energy use. This is because the Kindle consumes less energy than printed books. Print books emit four times more greenhouse gases, ozone-depleting substances, and chemicals associated with acidification than e-readers. But this impact does not come without a cost, as technology has many parts and requires more energy than paper. E-readers also create less biodegradable trash than paper.
The publishing industry is one of the most environmentally harmful industries in the U.S., and an e-reader business could make a real difference if it gains enough traction. Currently, Sony and Amazon lead the market, but mobile companies are fast gaining ground. According to a Cleantech Group report, up to 14.4 million people will use e-readers by 2012. However, this does not mean that the production of paper books will decrease. The use of e-readers also does not result in reductions in emissions if consumers do not purchase more books.
Paper books have lower carbon footprint
There are several reasons to choose paper books over electronic books. One is that they have lower carbon footprints. The use of recycled material in the pulp mix and the distance from paper mill to printing facility help reduce the overall carbon footprint. Another is that paper books are easier to recycle. In addition to this, paper books use less energy to produce. But that doesn’t mean that they have no carbon footprint. There are many factors that go into carbon footprint calculations.
Some studies have estimated the carbon footprint of a paper book. However, the conclusions are not consistent. Each study relies on different assumptions and data. Some studies use different paper quality and printing processes, while others only use a single print run of a specific book. Additionally, the carbon footprint of paper books is affected by the number of times a book is read. Some studies show that paper books have the lowest carbon footprint, while others show that they have the highest.
Printed books are better for the environment
One of the best ways to protect the environment is by limiting your book consumption. Reading a printed book is a relatively low-carbon activity, and one paperback book can produce the equivalent carbon footprint of six hours of television watching. In addition, each book you buy and read produces one kilogram of CO2e, or carbon dioxide equivalent, compared to about half a kilogram for an eBook. So, even if you don’t read a lot, you can still be better for the environment by avoiding buying a new book.
Printing a book on virgin fiber requires the destruction of a tree, which removes a vital carbon sink. All book production also involves the use of chemicals to produce paper, glues, and inks. Plus, transportation of the physical copy of the book to the reader results in emissions and energy use. If you can, try to buy your book online or on foot. These are the easiest ways to help the environment and the planet!
E-readers pollute the environment
Electronic waste is an ever-growing problem in the world, but many people do not know how to dispose of portable devices responsibly. Even the recycling process can pollute the environment by exposing workers to toxic substances. In addition, book recycling generates almost twice as much climate change-related carbon emissions as manufacturing. So, if you’re not yet convinced that e-readers are good for the environment, consider these facts first.
Printed books, by comparison, have a low carbon footprint. But an e-reader’s carbon footprint is much higher. Paper, the most common material used to produce books, requires the felling of 17 trees, each of which produces 59 kilos of paper. A 400-page paperback weighs 600 grams, so a single tree can produce more than 100 books. That’s a big difference!