Books are made of paper, which means trees are cut down in their making. Not only that, water and energy are required to print and bind a book, after which it is transported using fossil fuels. Back in 2008, 125 million trees were cut down to make books and newspapers in the US alone.
What Are The Greener Alternatives?
E-book readers such as Kindle can bring down the carbon footprint by 80 to 90 percent over paper books. You can download electronic copies of books via the internet and read them anywhere. This results in no printing, paper or transportation related emissions. Electricity and manufacturing accounts for just 10 to 20 percent of emissions compared to real paper, and this is offset in a year’s use. You can even carry your entire library in a small light weight reader. E-book readers have a different type of display. Kindle, made by Amazon, uses ‘e-ink’ which replicates the color and tone of paper and is very easy on the eyes too.
The good old library is one green option if you love the feel of real paper and books. As books are reused by readers in a library, the overall carbon footprint is reduced.
The third option is buying pre-owned books. Like all used things, books that have been once produced are better if more people share it.
Substituting books is not easy for purists. End of the day, the question we need to ask is ‘paper books or the environment?’