If we consume 100 books each year, we’d increase the carbon footprint and contribute to climate change. E-readers, on the other hand, use less paper and require less power generation. Yet, we use about 35 e-books a year – not the most eco-friendly choice. This article outlines the pros and cons of e-readers and how they can reduce carbon footprints.
Recyclable paper is a waste of resources
The recycling of paper helps to reduce carbon dioxide and methane emissions in the atmosphere. When waste paper is burned to create new paper, it releases methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas. Moreover, trees absorb carbon dioxide, so recycling paper helps to reduce global climate change by reducing the emission of carbon dioxide. When compared to new pulp, recycling paper reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to 80%.
Paper recycling also saves resources such as forests. It reduces the demand for wood and reduces water pollution. Moreover, recycling paper saves energy and costs for the paper manufacturing process. Paper recycling is a win-win situation for paper companies, as it costs less energy than manufacturing new paper from virgin wood fibers. In addition, paper fiber can be reused up to seven times, which results in less energy consumption. Paper fibers can be used for a variety of purposes, including insulation.
e-readers reduce CO2 emissions
E-readers are an excellent choice if you’re looking for a way to reduce CO2 emissions. The average e-reader consumes 33 pounds of minerals (including conflict minerals) and 79 gallons of water. They also produce a large amount of waste, which is then disposed of in landfills. By comparison, producing a paper book requires two-thirds of a pound of minerals and the harvesting of 100 million trees. That’s a huge carbon footprint, and the U.S. book and newspaper industry creates a tremendous amount of waste and has a huge carbon footprint.
Fortunately, e-readers are not the only devices with environmental benefits. The electronics industry is struggling to deal with an increasing amount of waste. Many people aren’t even aware of how to dispose of their waste. In addition, many parts of electronic devices are not recyclable, causing pollution and exposing workers to toxic chemicals. Reselling used electronic devices can reduce emissions, while also extending the life of the device. Additionally, reselling used e-readers can reduce your carbon footprint, which helps offset the carbon emissions from manufacturing them.
Libraries are underutilized
As libraries face increased competition from digital content, they are under pressure to evolve their services and meet new demand for content. At the same time, they must continue to support the traditional patterns of scholarly inquiry. Although digital media have changed the way people use information, print remains the dominant format for some materials, especially those in the humanities and arts. In addition, many faculty members continue to use print books for long-form reading and many activities. While younger faculty are more likely to use e-books, many believe that libraries will need to maintain hard copies for some time to come.
Another challenge facing libraries is fragmentation of resources. Both within and between libraries, library resources are scattered, reducing their gravitational pull. As a result, they are hard to assimilate into user workflows.
e-readers require power generation
The production of e-readers requires a significant amount of power generation, and is not without its environmental costs. The process of manufacturing and shipping e-readers involves removing trees and using resources such as plastics and ink, which are derived from petrochemicals. In addition, the devices generate a considerable amount of waste, which is then dumped in landfills. Meanwhile, producing a traditional paper book requires extracting more than half a pound of minerals and consuming up to 100 million trees. In addition, e-readers also create a huge carbon footprint and consume enormous amounts of water and electricity.
In addition to power generation, e-readers also require charging, which consumes a significant amount of power. The battery used in e-readers releases corrosive chemicals and fumes that can damage the environment. Fortunately, e-readers are small enough to be transported around the world easily and are much less material intensive than printed books. While electricity generation represents the biggest contributor to the LCA results of e-readers, it was found to be a minor environmental impact compared to the impact of paper and plastic.
Print books require logging of trees
Paper making is one of the largest industrial sources of carbon emissions in developed countries. It also consumes significant amounts of gas and oil. The world’s forests cover about 30% of the land. In 1990, they occupied about 31%. In 2016, we lost 73.4 million acres of forest, an increase of 51% from 2015. However, there are many positive measures we can take.
Thousands of trees are cut down each year for paper products. A standard pine tree can produce nearly half a billion paperbacks. Its wood contains more fibers than a hardwood tree and is therefore ideal for papermaking.
Recycling e-books is more expensive than recycling print books
The environmental cost of recycling an e-book is much higher than that of recycling a print book. Paperbacks require energy and natural resources to create, while e-books use none. A print book has a much longer life, and many people can enjoy it for several years. The more people who own the same book, the lower the environmental impact.
In 2018, books made up 0.2 percent of municipal solid waste. In contrast, electronic products made up just one percent of municipal solid waste. While books eventually biodegrade, the environmental impact of e-readers may be more lasting. Luckily, there are several ways to recycle e-books. Using a recycling locator on the European Recycling Platform’s website can help you find a recycling service near you.