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First and foremost, I love my Kindle, and I think it has revolutionized the reading world, but the environmental factors have kept me thinking. Is there much of a difference between a Kindle and "Dead-tree" books in accordance to the environment? I think it's a pretty interesting topic to think and write about. I can't exactly pinpoint where I saw a segment about electronics landfills in China (I believe 60 Minutes), but I remember watching the disgusting, noisome, and putrid ambiance of those landfills.

I bring this up because, if you think about it, owning a Kindle to a "dead-tree" book doesn't make our environment any better. It's still a disposable product, and with disposable products, it can still affect our environment.

I don't want to cause any strife here, but it's just a thought, opinion, or whichever, I guess. It hurt to watch children, and much worse, families, living in areas where disposed-of computer monitors and desktops intoxicate them. I couldn't bear to watch it.

I respect everyone's opinion in this, and I believe there is no wrong or right answer. I'm interested to know what you think about a particular topic of this magnitude.

I would like to share with you a USA Today article I happened to find in my search. It's from 2002, and I don't think, despite the measures these "reputable electronics recyclers and resellers" were supposedly to take, much of a difference has been made, a positive difference that is.

Here's the link:
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2002/02/25/computer-waste.htm
 

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This 60 Minutes segment is a video everyone should see, I saw it a few months ago. Here's the URL: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4586903n

I would agree that Kindles stuffed in landfills is inevitable. Better or worse than books? We may not find out the environmental impact any time soon.
 

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I don't know if it will be a controversial topic, but it should be a thought-provoking topic. The true environmental impact of any product is difficult to quantify. DTBs (and newspapers & magazines) impact the environment not only by the cost of cutting trees. There's the release of toxic chemicals into our air and water during the manufacturing of paper, the carbon imprint of printing and shipping the books, the energy to build and run brick and mortar bookstores, and even the impacts of consumers driving to and from the bookstore.
 

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I am sure that the kindle, just like other electronics, can be recycled - if people will do it.

Considering the fact i plan to keep my kindle u til it dies (then let it be recycled0 and the number of books i buy... i know it way more environmentally friendly.

Even if you exclude the printing of DTBs , just the shipping or driving to a store to purchase books (country girl with only small towns around - 30 minutes to a small books store 1.5 to 2 hours to a major one) makes a difference
 

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I don't know that it is inevitable. I know Apple recycles the IPod. There are recycling centers for electronics, if people want to use them. My Post Office actually has free, pre-paid envelops to send old cell phones to a recycling center. I think that Kindle's probably can be recycled.

I wonder about the batteries vs the amount of trees and recycled paper saved. I know that the batteries can be recycled if people choose to.

I think that a decent amount of energy is saved when you read on a Kindle. Since you are not paying for a book to be manufactured, transported from the press to a distribution center, from a distribution center to a store, and from a store to your house. Then you have the decrease in the amount of paper (new or recycled) used to make the book and the ink. Finally, you don't have to worry about disposing of the extra stock, which has its own distribution process and destruction process.

If an individual downloads enough e-books, I think that the Kindle is environmentally friendly. I just wonder how many e-books it takes to out weigh the environmental cost of making and shipping a physical book.
 

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Then again, the amount of shipping required to get accessories, skins, and other such Kindle goodies to people might very well negate the environmental savings from downloading thousands of books.
 

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I don't know how much better it is, but I think it IS (at least somewhat) better than buying books. I will only have one Kindle until it dies, then I will buy another. I don't think the Kindle is as disposable a product as say....plastic bags, styrofoam cups, etc. So I'm hoping to positively impact the environment, and I will do all I can to make sure I recycle it when it no longer works.
 

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ProfCrash said:
Then again, the amount of shipping required to get accessories, skins, and other such Kindle goodies to people might very well negate the environmental savings from downloading thousands of books.
LOL! I seriously hope no one is buying as many accessories as they would have DTBs... that would be scary (at least in my case)
 

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Sparkplug said:
I don't know if it will be a controversial topic, but it should be a thought-provoking topic. The true environmental impact of any product is difficult to quantify. DTBs (and newspapers & magazines) impact the environment not only by the cost of cutting trees. There's the release of toxic chemicals into our air and water during the manufacturing of paper, the carbon imprint of printing and shipping the books, the energy to build and run brick and mortar bookstores, and even the impacts of consumers driving to and from the bookstore.
Very true on those points

Unfortunately, the Kindle qualifies for most of those as well (except the Kindle is not obviously "out there" in similar numbers). Think about the chemicals and industry to build, ship, store the kindle. I actually think paper has more of a recycle/reuse infrastructure in place in our current world model. But, I think that is the case because we have been using paper for so long. It is the de facto medium worldwide. There is tremendous potential for "e-readers" to possibly make a strong foothold in the paper medium market. I still think paper will be very strong for 100 years or more from now. Remember all those promises of a "paperless" office when the PC was gaining steam. Hmmm....I think it brought more paper use. I can say with some experience and qualification that you should not read into some media in the USA that our forests are all gone. We have more trees now (in the US) than we have in over 200 years. We just don't have old growth trees (though old growth are not used for paper pulp anyways). And I think that DTB (as they are titled in the forums) have more potential to be re-used, recycled, and/or have extended longevity over a Kindle within our current system.
 

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J. Steinbeck said:
Very true on those points

Unfortunately, the Kindle qualifies for most of those as well (except the Kindle is not obviously "out there" in similar numbers). Think about the chemicals and industry to build, ship, store the kindle. I actually think paper has more of a recycle/reuse infrastructure in place in our current world model. But, I think that is the case because we have been using paper for so long. It is the de facto medium worldwide. There is tremendous potential for "e-readers" to possibly make a strong foothold in the paper medium market. I still think paper will be very strong for 100 years or more from now. Remember all those promises of a "paperless" office when the PC was gaining steam. Hmmm....I think it brought more paper use. I can say with some experience and qualification that you should not read into some media in the USA that our forests are all gone. We have more trees now (in the US) than we have in over 200 years. We just don't have old growth trees (though old growth , are not used for paper pulp anyways). And I think that DTB (as they are titled in the forums) have more potential to be re-used, recycled, and/or have extended longevity over a Kindle within our current system.
Yes, the maming of the kindle (and the shipping of it) does have effects... BUT the difference lies in how many kindles a person owns vs how many DTBs. For an avid reader/book buyer, the kindle will be more envirnmentally firendly than DTBs; especially if they keep the same model for multiple years.

Is the Kindle more environmentally freindly than one DTB... NO! But, is it for environmentally firendly than 100 DTBs.. YES! That is where the difference lies, in the number of DTBs a person would have bought but didn't becuase of the Kindle.
 

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TM said:
Yes, the maming of the kindle (and the shipping of it) does have effects... BUT the difference lies in how many kindles a person owns vs how many DTBs. For an avid reader/book buyer, the kindle will be more envirnmentally firendly than DTBs; especially if they keep the same model for multiple years.

Is the Kindle more environmentally freindly than one DTB... NO! But, is it for environmentally firendly than 100 DTBs.. YES! That is where the difference lies, in the number of DTBs a person would have bought but didn't becuase of the Kindle.
True points as well

But I guess I should expand upon the fact that DTB can and will last much longer than a Kindle. If your Kindle breaks in 8 years, the books on it are not readable. A DTB can be read and used for 20/40 even 50 or more years. By the way, that DTB would be considered stored carbon, a good thing as it means less CO2 in the atmosphere. Also, as much as we like to believe in E-recyling (and E-waste is a huge problem) it is not even close to our current paper recycling capabilities. There have been tremendous advances (at least in the US and Canada) in cleaner production of paper in the last decade as well.
 

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J. Steinbeck said:
True points as well

But I guess I should expand upon the fact that DTB can and will last much longer than a Kindle. If your Kindle breaks in 8 years, the books on it are not readable. A DTB can be read and used for 20/40 even 50 or more years. By the way, that DTB would be considered stored carbon, a good thing as it means less CO2 in the atmosphere. Also, as much as we like to believe in E-recyling (and E-waste is a huge problem) it is not even close to our current paper recycling capabilities. There have been tremendous advances (at least in the US and Canada) in cleaner production of paper in the last decade as well.
True... but again it is not one DTB vs the Kindle but hundreds of DTBs vs the Kindle(especially if we go with the 8 year life of the kindle). Just someone driving to the store (or having the books shipped to them more than makes up the difference (excluding production costs, stoage and selling costs).

Agina it gets to the numbers... 1 BTD, 10 DTBs, even 20 DTBs (maybe) may be better enviormantally than one kindle... but for most the kindle is better for the environment than all the DTBs they would have bought (including all the costs). it is simply a matter of scale... and how many DTBs did a person not buy becuase of the Kindle.
 

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Right now I have read over 200 books on my Kindle since August. I think the Kindle is a much better environmental impact than 200 paper books.
 

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MonaSW said:
Right now I have read over 200 books on my Kindle since August. I think the Kindle is a much better environmental impact than 200 paper books.
yes... and that is the point I have been trying to make. on a one on one comparision, the Kindle loses (and does against just a few DTbs), but when ya consider the scale, amount of books most read... then Kindle wins, hands down.
 

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ProfCrash said:
I don't know that it is inevitable. I know Apple recycles the IPod. There are recycling centers for electronics, if people want to use them. My Post Office actually has free, pre-paid envelops to send old cell phones to a recycling center. I think that Kindle's probably can be recycled
You really ought to watch the 60 Minutes video... A lot of these "recycling centers" just dump the stuff into China.
 

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I have nearly 400 books and 199 samples so far and I tend to add at least one sample everyday... I think that would be a LOT of paper!! :)
 

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There are way too many factors for me to try and give a truly educated answer. To be fair you would also need to include everything that went into the whole process of Kindle being made, including R&D, distribution, use, and then hopefully recycle at end of life. After all it is not just the one we hold in our hands but how it got there to begin with. That doesn't even include the power usage we have no control over, which has to do with the making and storage of ebooks. You could really take this to however many levels you want. Then you have to do the same for paper and publishing. There are so many factors that as consumers we are not aware of.

I am not going to try and put a number to it, but I would think if the Kindle last long enough, it will have less of an environmental impact. If nothing else it makes me feel better about using it. It would really be interesting to see real numbers. I will bet it is better than all those 20oz bottles we use, even with how popular recycling has become.

Hey, that could be another factor! Since I stay home and buy books, I don't drive to the book store, get hungry, buy a 20oz drink and a snack sold in a plastic bag and throw it all in the trash. Not to mention all the extra CO2 because I start yelling at all the other idiot drivers.  ;D
 

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It certainly begs for a study, I bet there is a student out there that is "running the numbers". I think that every little bit helps when talking about reduction in the use of resources. But lets not kid ourselves. As much as everyone here is a die hard Kindle fan. E-readers probably have very little impact on the overall global paper/book market. So, until e-readers grab a larger share of the market, I doubt there will be a measurable dent in the global reduction of DTB/paper products. Again, I think the holistic approach of reduce/reuse/recycle and every individual plays its part. Maybe when there are 50+ million e-ink type products out there we might see a dent in the market. However, the more popular the devices get, the more factories/shipping/warehousing for all of them (think Ipod with it's annual model changes and the increased desire for the consumer to "upgrade"). And thus, more e-waste.  Gonna start looking around to see if there is any research out there for this subject.
 

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TM said:
Considering the fact i plan to keep my kindle until it dies
Short sighted - I am taking my Kindle with me to the grave. I will be buried with it fully loaded with my favorite books (hence the need for the SD card), and will have many extra batteries. Thus I need to have a K1. I'm trying to figure out if I can have an extension cord run out of the coffin, if I can find a cemetary with a nearby electrical outlet.

Steve
 
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