Many newspaper readers assume that a digital subscription is better for the environment than a print subscription. However, this is not always the case! While a digital subscription eliminates paper from being used, it comes with other environmental factors that are generally overlooked, such as e-waste and the amount of energy used by webservers when users access the internet.
In fact, it was found that for an avid newspaper reader who reads for 30 minutes or more daily, reading a print edition had a lower environmental impact than reading the online edition (28kg CO2/year vs. 35kg/year) (treehugger.com).
When deciding which is a better personal choice for you- digital or print- consider how much time you spend reading the news; if you invest a good amount to reading the newspaper, the print edition is likely a greener choice. However, if you are the occasional skimmer of the news, you should stick to reading the news online.
A similar conundrum exists for E-readers vs real books. A life-cycle analysis demonstrated that the environmental impact (use of energy, water, and raw materials, and total emissions) of one E-reader was equivalent to about 150-200 books. You should consider how many books you typically read yearly before you purchase an E-reader- you may not be doing the Earth the favor you thought you were!
Written by: Ainslee Cunningham, class of 2014
Photo by: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flickr_-_Hamed_Saber_-.jpg, 24 May 2007, 18:06 Hamed Saber from Tehran, Iran – Today we had another small gathering in Khaneye Honarmandan or Park of Artists Home. Thanks Mehran, for the idea of this shot.