I have decided to get a Kindle. When e-readers first came to prominence I had defiantly declared that I was not going to cross over to the “dark” side. I was never going to own an e-reader because physical books are so much better. The sensory effects of touching the page, turning them over as you delve further into the story, the new book smell, the old, browning pages book smell completely diminished the validity of an e-reader in my mind.
Fast forward some time later, to a doctor’s appointment and seeing persons older than myself (grandmothers included) sitting in the waiting room reading e-readers while I had a book. At this point the need to be “in” completely took over. If older folk than myself were embracing the technology, why not I? So I thought about it and with Amazon offering a Kindle with special offers for a little less than the regular price, I decided that now is the time to get one. Then I thought about what if a colour Kindle comes out very shortly after I purchase my black and white one. I dismissed that with the thought that I do not really need colour to read books, so I’ll survive.
So after all of that comes the question, are Kindles green. Before I made my purchase I decided to do a little internet research. All of the articles I read indicated that the Kindle is in fact green and greener than books. In an article by Erika Engelhaupt for Environment, Science and Technology (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es087144e) she does the research comparing printed books versus the Kindle (albeit after she had purchased one) and found Greg Kozak whose Master’s Thesis compared Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) for e-readers and college textbooks. His analysis indicated that e-readers were in fact greener. Ms. Engelhaupt also looked at the issue of toxicity and here again the e-reader came out tops. There is also a study by CleanTech which indicates that Kindles are greener than printed books. The image below from the CleanTech study illustrates the fact that CO2 emissions for printed books will be greater than from Kindles.
So far now, given the limited research that has been on the topic, I can be confident that my e-reader purchase is a green one. However, I will also have to deal with having a larger carbon footprint given that Derek Walcott’s books will probably never have Kindle editions.