You use your phone, computer, Ipod, or increasingly, your iPhone or Amazon Kindle to get news, check stocks, look at the weather, to buy and listen to music, read or listen to books and magazines, and any number of other functions that at one time, were chiefly available in paper formats, if at all. Some, like the iPhone, can bring you the entire internet.
You can do these things when and where you want, provided that you have remembered to charge your device, you remembered not to leave it on the seat next to you on the train (drats!), and you have paid your bills for the services on time.
They Use Electricity, however…
Sure, these gadgets, and let us not forget the television and radio, as they have not yet gone to the wayside, are all using electricity. But while they are using electricity, which is still, in most cases, the result of a carbon-intensive production process, water and chemicals are used in the production of paper, not to mention the trees that are cut down for the purpose.
According to this AboutMyPlanet article, regarding newspapers’ impact on the environment,
Nearly four billion trees worldwide are cut down annually for paper alone, representing about 35% of all harvested trees. However, many of the trees used for paper come from tree farms, which are planted and replenished solely for that purpose.
The U.S. Toxic Release Inventory report released by the EPA states that pulp and paper mills are among the worst polluters to air, water and land of any industry in the country.
Again, yes, while these gadgets bringing evermore news and information to our fingertips at a faster pace, still do cause pollution by demanding more electricity, making and even recycling paper is a carbon-, chemical-, and overall environmentally-demanding process.
Production and Life-cycle of Newspapers
Making newspapers and having people read/use them is difficult to turn into an envirohumanly friendly process, even when it is recycled and bleached without the use of chlorine. Printing presses use electricity to print the newspapers and trucks haul them away for distribution. After a user is finished with his or her paper, it is hauled away by a truck, whether it is headed to a recycling facility or dump.
So, If You Haven’t Already…
Dump your newspaper subscription. You can get much more current news from free online versions of several newspapers, cable news sources, and blogs (like this one!) using a desktop or laptop computer, Iphone, Amazon Kindle, or other such device, without the paper waste.
You’ll be using more electricity personally for reading your news, but you can tailor your experience to your specific interests, there’s much more for you to read if you should want or have the time to kill, and you do not have to buy the whole paper, which, let’s face it, (for most of us) contains a lot of stuff in which we simply are not interested.
Devices Will Be Greener
For these reason, we urge you to consider dumping your newspaper subscription (as if you still have one!). One last thought: paper is likely to continue to come from trees and recycled sources, and the massively polluting aspects listed above are unlikely to change. But remember that electricity should undergo a major change in the coming years: hopefully we move to carbon-free electricity! And don’t forget that manufacturers are looking at ways in which they also can make devices even more energy efficient.
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