Books Vs Ebooks – What’s the Environmental Impact?

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There are a number of factors to consider when deciding between books and ebooks, but one factor that should be considered is the environmental impact of printed books. Printed books consume lots of natural resources and have a large carbon footprint. In fact, just one book uses 2 kilowatts of fossil fuel and produces 7.5 kg of CO2 emissions. Another factor to consider is the light required for reading a printed book. Reading a book in bed can be tiring and requires light bulbs, which use energy and produce CO2 emissions.

e-books reduce CO2 emissions

A recent study published in the International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment found that e-books can offset the carbon footprint of paper books by as much as 25 percent. The study, conducted in 2012, considered the impact of fossil fuels, water, minerals, and global warming on the environment. The findings were surprising, but they do show that e-books reduce CO2 emissions significantly. But this claim can only be accurate if you’re reading 35 or more books per year.

eBooks save trees

There are pros and cons of eBooks versus books as far as environmental impact is concerned. Ebooks are more sustainable than books in several ways. One of the best options is borrowing a book from a library or friend. Both options reduce your carbon footprint. Books can be recycled and reused, which is a great way to help the environment. Plus, if you borrow a book from a library, you’re supporting local businesses and reducing your own emissions.

Books reduce air pollution

It’s a never-ending debate about the environmental impact of books and ebooks. In a recent New York Times article, scientists calculated that the manufacturing of a single ereader produces nearly 33 lbs of carbon dioxide and emits 66 lb of CO2 compared to just a few books. To put things into perspective, books require less than half this amount of resources to produce. Moreover, ereaders’ factories also produce twice as much climate-change-causing gases as book factories.

When it comes to the environmental impact of reading, books are still preferred over ebooks. While ereaders require less energy and natural resources than books, the number of pages that are read makes a difference.

Which is cheaper for you and the environment?

The environmental benefits of eBooks over printed books are substantial. The manufacturing of electronic devices (e.g. e-readers) and the distribution of printed books all contribute to the environmental impact. E-readers also reduce the carbon footprint of the readers themselves. While an ebook is the more environmentally friendly option for book readers, environmental factors are not the only factors to consider. Another consideration is the cost of the devices. Ebooks are generally more expensive in the short run as digital copies are affordable. However to recycle an ebook and purchase a new one is more challenging compared to recycling and buying regular books.