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Will eReaders save the environment?

2 September 2009

I’ll admit, I have a big chip on my shoulder when it comes to e-readers like Amazon’s Kindle.  I grew up in a household that was covered in books, worked in libraries as a teenager and college student and have always enjoyed the physical sensations of books.  Mmmm, the smell of a new book.  When the Kindle first came out, I thought it was ridiculous and wasteful.  But recent “spine-to-spine” lifecycle analysis of the Kindle versus my beloved print medium shows that e-readers and e-books may provide valuable carbon dioxide savings.

The study, combining previous research, finds that a Kindle is responsible for 168 kq of CO2 over its lifetime. Replacing three physical books a month for four years with Kindle books will save 1,074 kg of CO2. The less voracious will still break environmentally even halfway through their 23rd book, the point at which the impacts of the Kindle’s existence are offset. Link

Ok, so maybe I was wrong about the relative environmental merits of the Kindle.  I still like printed books better – and it’s harder for companies to take those back!

:: Treehugger

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