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Consumer Technology ebooks are green

Published on March 23rd, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan


Are E-Books Really Green? [INFOGRAPHIC]

March 23rd, 2011 by  

ebooks are green

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via WellHome

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) one letter at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of EV Obsession, Gas2, Solar Love, Planetsave, or Bikocity; or as president of Important Media. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, energy storage, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media:, .

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  • Joguslav

    much as I like the idea of reducing materials and energy through e-books, I think the above calculations should be re-done to take into account the fact that “a cut tree” is not necessarily equal to the carbon stored in that tree being emitted as CO2. In N-America and Europe in particular, these trees are often replanted and absorb the same amount of CO2, i.e. in a well-managed forest there are no net emissions (machinery fuel use aside) from cutting trees.

    Of course, paper can come from destructive logging in, e.g. SE Asia, but this is a different scenario and both should be balanced in the LCA presented in the grahpic

  • Phil Gwinn

    E-readers are awesome overall. I read on my ipod and the wife reads on her ipad. Before that I read on my palm pilot. It is great to be able to carry dozens of books at a whack.

    My only beef is that the cost of eBooks is still very close to that of a paper book. Production costs are about nil. So, all we really need to do is compensate the author for his/her work.

    I see a future where publishing houses will become extinct if they cannot get the price of an eBook way below the cost of a paperback. After all, John Q Author can easily market a pdf or epub right from his website…..

  • LauriePB

    Can’t make an informed decision about E books, until I see a comparison between the facts shown in the article above, and facts regarding the resources required for E-book manufacturing, expected lifespan, (how many will I need to buy in MY lifetime), and the costs of disposal.

    • Zachary Shahan

      i would have liked to see that info as well

  • Chris

    The only problem with ebooks I’ve found so far is that in an airplane they have to be turned off for taxi, take-off, and landing. On a short flight, this can be more than half the flight! Whereas a book can be open / on from boarding to deplaning.
    Can’t wait for the airlines to allow ebook readers in “airplane” mode for the entire time onboard.

  • Shelley

    Now there are websites that you can lend and borrow digital books for your Kindle or Nook such as

  • Danielle

    The other option is to borrow and share your paper books, which are biodegradable. Friends & libraries are great for that!

  • rollo tomasi

    so nothing about what will happen to the millions of tablets that will be discarded in the future? the tech industry does not have a stellar record of proper disposal or recycling…just ask the kids in east Africa heating up & stomping on old motherboards to get the metal for the family income…

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