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Truth about e-readers

Are you a bookworm who worries that you’ve probably got half the Amazon Rainforest on your bookshelf? Are you wondering if the *other* Amazon might hold the solution? You might be right - but it depends on how many books you currently purchase.

The Squeeze: Every printed book creates approximately 7.46kg of carbon emissions during its lifetime. 

Traditional books create carbon emissions through deforestation, water and chemical usage, and transportation from forest to bookshelf. Many books are also frequently updated or revised (especially textbooks) and on average, a shocking 30% of new books won’t sell and will be returned to the publisher to be destroyed.

However, although e-readers may save trees, they consume energy to manufacture and use, and they create e-waste, especially when they are constantly updated.

So what to do? If you’re a casual buyer of books, sticking with the paper version is fine, but if you’re a voracious reader or already own an e-reader or tablet then replacing books with a digital e-reader will reduce your carbon footprint, as long as you don’t upgrade it too often. One study estimates that buying three e-books a month for four years (instead of buying the equivalent in paper books) saves over 1000kg of CO2 emissions.

Living Lime: Kindle has launched a SolarKindle cover for its e-books. It is a solar powered cover that allows you to use your Kindle for up to three months without having to plug it in. 

To squeeze some more green out of your day: To be the ultimate green reader, don’t download e-books or buy that new novel – borrow from your local library. 

By Chris Angus & Anna Minns

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