E-readers, although already very environmentally sound, are still believed to be constructed using toxic materials. Amazon, for example, has been silent as to the types and amounts of these toxic materials that may or may not be present in the circuitry of their Kindle. If the use of toxic materials can be lessened or eliminated, and e-reader companies can take charge of disposal of out-of-use e-readers, it is safe to assume that they will become much better for the environment.
Here is a link to GreenPeace’s website, for more information about “e-waste” and which electronics companies are taking action to reduce their environmental impact.
Amazon recently released the Kindle 2, which sports an 85% increased battery life. This is beneficial in helping to save electricity and reduce battery waste. Sony is marketing their e-reader as an environmentally friendly product because it can last longer than 1,000 page turns on one battery charge.
There are certainly ways I could think of, besides the current benefit of preventing cutting down of trees. Manufacturers could make recycling programs for old and broken e-readers, where they would reuse working parts and extract valuable materials or at least dispose of them properly. The body and probably some internal parts could be made from recycled or biodegradable plastic. Maybe they could have a thin solar panel on the back to recharge the device instead of needing electricity.
The e-readers use energy when they change from page to page. This is when they use battery power, not when the pages are still with e-ink. If this was somehow eliminated and the e-book would use little to no power. This would be amazing for the environment.
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