E-readers are eco friendly because they get rid of the need for printing books. This eliminates a lot of the paper that is used along with the ink. There is also no shipping of the books, just shipping of the e-readers themselves. Obviously more materials go into makign the e-readers than books, but if they are used a good amount then they make up for it in the amount of resources that they save with regards to the books that would have been produced.
E-readers displace the purchase of 22.5 physical books. Printed books have the highest per-unit carbon footprint (taking into account its raw materials, paper production, printing, shipping, and disposal) in the publishing sector. A recent Cleantech study concluded the following:
“…purchasing three e-books per month for four years produces roughly 168 kilograms of CO2 throughout the Kindle’s lifecycle, compared to the estimated 1,074 kilograms of CO2 produced by the same number of printed books.”
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