Reduce Your Carbon Footprint with eReaders

October 24, 2012 Written by  Comments Print
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There’s nothing like grabbing the daily newspaper and a cup of coffee to start your morning. However, in today’s technology age with social media affecting just about every facet of daily life, more readers are looking for convenient ways to get their news right in the palm of their hand. eReaders such as tablets, Kindles and iPads are taking the globe by storm while reducing paper and your carbon footprint. 

If you haven’t yet jumped on the eReader trend, perhaps you think you can always recycle the newspaper when you’re done reading it. Though this may be true, did you know that recycling only reduces the waste that builds up within landfills? Not to mention that producing the newspaper requires more energy than imagined. According to Mike Toeffel, an Associate Professor of Business Administration at The Harvard Business School, 7,316 megajoules (equivalent to approximately the kinetic energy of a one-ton vehicle moving at 160 km/h) of energy are required to produce 12 months of circulation of the New York Times. The company uses 50% of recycled newspaper to create, print, distribute and dispose of the newspaper and emits 702 kilograms (kg) of carbon dioxide a year, per subscriber. This is under the assumption that each subscriber reads each issue of the paper, for one year.

eReaders have a smaller carbon dioxide in the manufacturing process alone. Assuming an eReader lasts for three years, the impact of the manufacturing per year is one third of that of a newspaper, equivalent to 18.6 killowatt hours (kWh) and four (kg) of carbon dioxide. To charge an eReader at six watts for two hours every day, it takes 1.5 kWh per year. 

eReaders also require a data or cellular plan to download newspapers and ebooks. The New York Times Kindle edition has a size of approximately 334 kilobyte (kB) and takes approximately one minute to download. Toeffel identifies that the impact of one minute of cellular time equals .014 kWh. Over the course of a year, this would be eight kWh and would only release a total of five kg of carbon dioxide.

So just by switching to eReaders as your source for news and entertainment, each individual who typically subscribes to a year’s worth of print newspaper can potentially save up to 6,500 megajoules of energy and 690 kg of carbon dioxide per year. If you haven’t already, consider switching to eReaders for your magazines, books and other literary favorites! Check out Toeffel’s article here for more information.

Check out our infographic below with more information on reducing your carbon footprint. Click the link to view last week's blog post How to Build a New Home to Ensure Energy Efficiency or check back next week for more energy saving tips.

Reduce your C footprint