Amazon Kindle is Doing Its Part to Save Forests, One Tree at a Time

To make magazines, books, and newspapers, the publishing industry requires approximately 125 million trees per year. There’s no doubt that the use of so much paper has negatively impacted the environment, but many are looking to electronic devices like the Kindle to relieve the carbon footprint paper has made, and it just so happens that Kindle’s really are environmentally-friendly.   Producing one paperback book is not as bad for the environment as producing one Kindle, but a one-time purchase of a Kindle and downloading books rather than continuously buying paperback’s is better for the environment. Buying a Kindle is a good idea (environmentally) for people who will download a large number of books, and who don’t trade in gadgets every year. 
According to Cleantech, an environmental consulting firm, a book generates 7.5 kilograms, or 17 pounds, of carbon dioxide equivalents through production, transport and disposal or recycling. A Kindle, on the other hand, generates 168 kilograms, or 371 pounds of carbon dioxide. But according to The Washington Post, the Kindle pays for its carbon dioxide emissions halfway through the consumer’s 23rd book. Every time a consumer downloads an electronic book rather than buying a paperback, a small amount of the water and carbon dioxide deficit from Kindle production is paid back.
Kindles win the environmental battle in two key areas: water and toxic chemicals. As far as water is concerned, U.S. newspaper and book industries use 153 billions of water per year. To make a single printed book, it requires seven gallons of water while a digital book requires less than two cups of water. To make a Kindle, 79 gallons of water is needed, but according to recent figures, the Kindle pays off after reading one dozen books. 
Kindles are also environmentally-friendly when it comes to toxic chemicals. Making ink for print mediums releases toxins like xylene, hexane and toluene, some of which can cause cancer, birth defects, asthma and contribute to smog. The Kindle, on the other hand, complies with Europe’s RoHS standards, which cuts harmful chemicals in production. 
The Kindle isn’t completely innocent, though. The making of a Kindle does require mining of nonrenewable minerals like columbite-tantalite, and some believe we’re at risk of exhausting the world’s lithium supply, which is what powers the Kindle. 
If you’re an avid reader who still enjoys a wall covered in bookshelves complete with all your literary favorites, libraries are a great option since the books are recycled and used over and over again. Although, studies show that libraries are “underutilized” and that the average member checks 7.4 books out per year.

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