Are E-Readers Greener than Books?

Are E-Readers Greener than Books?

Trent Johnson
Sep 10, 2009

A study recently released by the San Francisco-based Cleantech group sought to determine the environmental impact of replacing your books with the Amazon Kindle. See their findings after the jump ...

The study by Cleantech, as summarized by The New York Times, suggests that "on average, the carbon emitted over the life of the device is offset after just one year's use." The study goes on to say that one Kindle will displace the purchase of 22.5 physical books.

The report asserts that printed books have a very high per-unit carbon footprint once you take into account the fossil fuels required for delivery and the surprising fact that up to 36% of those books are returned to the publisher where they are incinerated, thrown away or sometimes, recycled.

The bottom line? The life-cycle analysis of the Kindle suggests significant environmental advantages over published books, magazines and newspapers.

Cleantech Study via the New York Times

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