Which is better for the environment, an e-reader or paper books?
Easy Answer: It depends on how much you read and where you get your paper books.
As with a lot of environmental show-downs, clear winners are tough to come by. Borrowing books from the library is probably the most environmentally friendly way to get your reading done–but what if you’re a book buyer? Is it better to purchase a Kindle or to keep on buying your Jonathan Franzen or Nicholas Sparks novels?
According to the Cleantech Group, the “carbon emitted in the lifecycle of a Kindle is fully offset after the first year of use.” That is assuming you’re a big reader. The Cleantech data says the environmental impact of a Kindle is offset at the point that you’ve bought about 23 e-books (instead of paper books).
The study makes another assumption; that is that publishers will print fewer paper copies of books in response to e-book sales. It’s not uncommon for unsold books to be returned to the publisher and destroyed.
You can find the entire Cleantech report here:
Photo credit: Flickr user Paul Watson.
Marketplace is on a mission.
We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.
Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?