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Are Kindles Greener than Regular Books?

I got a Kindle for Christmas (thanks, Jason!), and in Maine I was really happy to have as many books as I wanted at my fingertips, in a package far smaller than the fifth volume of A la Recherche du Temps Perdu. But as the book geek and tech geek in me rejoiced, the green geek in me wondered: are Kindles better for the environment than regular books?

It fits in nicely there, doesn’t it?

A study by the Cleantech Group says yes. According to them, the Kindle breaks even after displacing 22.5 paper books. So far I’ve read 5 books in less than a month, so after 4.5 months it should be all gravy. (Veggie gravy, of course.)

This article in Environmental Science and Technology delves into newspapers and textbooks, as well, but it ultimately agrees.

On top of that, the Kindle is less disposable than, say, an iPod, because it’s designed with an easily replaceable battery. And once its useful life is over, Amazon provides free recycling.

On the other hand, buying books on the Kindle is so easy (and fast!) that I worry that I’ll buy more than I used to. It’s definitely more convenient than getting books from the library or Luckily the Greenest Dollar has some suggestions for free or cheap ebooks. I’ll have to look into that. Otherwise, this habit could get expensive really quickly….


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Comment from Sarah Carmicheal
Time April 4, 2012 at 2:50 am

There is a low chance of people throwing out their Kindles into skip bins because according to my friends who have one, they are highly addictive and portable, and the recycling program does make it greener in fact.

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