Skip to main content

Going Green with eReaders

Twenty-four trees are required to produce a ton of paper for printing books, and twelve are needed for a ton of newsprint. Thirty-five percent of those books printed are destroyed before they are even read. In 2009, eBook readers took off and the latest reading trend began to grow. In 2010, these reading devices became more popular and started sparking the attention of people everywhere. Some of this attention came from the idea that this new technology was a huge breakthrough in an effort to save our planet. So the question becomes, do eReaders save the planet? Will they ever? How green are these devices?

Here at TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don t Have To. 

Why eReaders are Environmentally Friendly

The most obvious reason why eReaders are bettering our lives is by reducing the number of trees that are cut down for the production of books. The eReader is not 100 percent green and is far from it. But if you are comparing eBooks to other paperback books, eBooks certainly take the lead.

An estimated 3KG of carbon emissions is saved by not buying a new book. This is because 70 percent of those emissions are released when paper is produced. Basically, eBooks are carbon neutral. The impacts from the production of the paper are counterbalanced by the savings in paper, ink and delivery of the books. Additionally, reading on a display screen isn t all that different from reading on paper. For example, the Kindle 2 has common characteristics with paper: it has high contrast, high resolution and can be viewed with reflected light.

Another standout feature is the use of rechargeable lithium polymer batteries in some eReaders. These batteries last long and, compared to Nickel-based batteries, they are much safer for the planet. With such a long life for these batteries, you can save a lot of money and energy over the course of time.

Why eBook Readers Will Not Save the Trees

Studies have shown with the hype and popularity of eReaders, computers and laptops, the amount of paper used has not decreased but has risen significantly. Some studies say when studying the environmental impacts from production to transportation to waste, the eReader is not an environmentally friendly device. It consumes materials and energy during the manufacturing process and requires electrical power to operate. Also, a large concern is how to dispose of the product. Many individuals do not know how to properly dispose of any electrical device, and an eReader adds to that list.

Just because these eReaders are wireless, doesn t mean they are wind powered. The eBooks are charged by using a computer or wall charger, depending on the device. Using this kind of electricity, gases are produced which greatly affects the environment.

What Do We Do About it Now?

eReaders are a technology that will improve as it continues to grow in popularity. Some studies show that eReaders save on the printing of new books and the use of Nickel-based batteries. Whereas, other studies show the production of these reading devices is having some drastic impacts on our environment. Time will tell if these eBook Readers made a difference in the reduction of trees cut down for book printing or if it didn t make any difference at all.