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Newspapers Pollute Less On E-Readers and Tablets

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the which-stats-win dept.

Earth 113

bobwyman writes "It seems counter-intuitive but a RAND full lifecycle analysis (PDF) shows that reading news electronically produces fewer GHG emissions than reading news on paper: 'Adopting e-readers could reduce GHG emissions from publishing and distributing newspapers by 74 percent; using tablet computers could result in a 63 percent reduction, assuming that all the GHG emissions associated with producing and operating e-readers or tablet computers are ascribed to reading newspapers. If a more realistic assumption is adopted, that the emissions associated with these devices should be spread across other activities pursued on these devices, the difference would be on the order of 84 to 89 percent less, respectively.'"

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Counter-intuitive (5, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757741)

"It seems counter-intuitive but a RAND full lifecycle analysis (PDF) shows that reading news electronically produces fewer GHG emissions than reading news on paper:

How is this in any way counter-intuitive?

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757791)

Because paper contains carbon that was extracted from the air, I guess. Not that it matters much, either way it's a negligable amount.

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39758027)

But most people don't know this, so it doesn't affect the "intuitive" conclusion that most people would reach.

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

jaymemaurice (2024752) | more than 2 years ago | (#39760529)

Does it matter if the paper would have stayed a tree or was turned into a house instead?!

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761417)

Yes it does. Most trees don't live forever, after a while they die and rot away, releasing most of the carbon they have collected in their lifetime. With forestry, trees get cut down before they die, thus removing the carbon from the natural cycle. Thus, using trees for buildings or furniture is carbon-negative, but paper is a different thing. First, most paper is recycled, not made of trees, and second, they require an awful lot of processing per mass, apparently negating their good effects.

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 2 years ago | (#39763391)

That's only the raw material. Paper has to be refined, bleached processed. Add to that the inks and the transportation. Until recently the paper industry was one of the dirtiest businesses out there. It's not surprising that the footprint is bad if all you use it for is a throwaway news article that 90% of readers skip anyway.

Re:Counter-intuitive (5, Insightful)

Troyusrex (2446430) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757797)

My thought exactly. It's a lot less energy to push electrons than to push newspaper trucks.

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about 2 years ago | (#39758885)

My thought exactly. It's a lot less energy to push electrons than to push newspaper trucks.

Unfortunately, the energy to push the crap propaganda is infinite.

Re:Counter-intuitive (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39760869)

But to manufacture a single modern chip also produces a lot of highly toxic waste that gets dumped into ocean, much more than manufacturing the delivery truck.
   

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761201)

On what planet?

Re:Counter-intuitive (3, Interesting)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761217)

I worked at a paper mill once. It used as much electricity as the city of Manchester. (UK's third largest city). and ran 24 hours a day, 29 days out of 30

Re:Counter-intuitive !NOT (1)

knorthern knight (513660) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762241)

Newspaper...
1) Send guys with chainsaws to forests, either via helicopters or real off-road vehicles, not your wimpy consumer SUV

2) Cut down trees with gas-powered chainsaws (producing pollution already).

3) Drag logs to logging road, and haul them via truck to pulp+paper mill

4) Convert logs to pulp and then paper; rather energy intensive

5) Haul paper from mill to printing plant.

6) Run the printing press, using some "interesting" inks

7) Haul the printed newspapers via truck to customers

Just some of the required infrastructure...
* log-hauling trucks and newspaper delivery vans
* chainsaws
* fuel
* pulp+paper mills which consume huge amounts of energy
* printing plants
* ink manufacturing

If we had started with electronic newspapers, and someone invented "deadtree newspapers" today, they would not succeed.

Re:Counter-intuitive !NOT (1)

rally2xs (1093023) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762313)

Get rid of the IRS and the income tax, and save 300,000 trees / year by not printing a bunch of tax forms. Its called the Fair Tax, and you don't have to file a D thing...

Re:Counter-intuitive !NOT (1)

NemosomeN (670035) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762571)

AKA the FuckThePoor Tax.

Re:Counter-intuitive !NOT (1)

rally2xs (1093023) | more than 2 years ago | (#39763105)

Duh... the poor don't pay a penny of it.

Re:Counter-intuitive (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757811)

Producing semiconductors is a fairly energy-intensive process, tablets are full of semiconductors -- chips, the screen, etc. I can believe, though, that if a tablet is used instead of a printed newspaper every day for 2 or so years, there is a net energy savings.

Re:Counter-intuitive (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#39758487)

Not to mention we already know how to build devices that last, its simply cheaper (and more likely to generate more sales) if you "design for the dump" but with a little care even average electronics can last quite a while. my laptop from 07 is still going last i heard, as is the laptop i had in 2010, the netbook I have now since i'm happy with both the performance and form factor should easily last me 5 to 7 years, possibly more, with simply a little thought and common sense when it comes to carrying it.

So there is no reason, other than carelessness or the desire to "keep up with the joneses" to replace your devices annually. With a little thought and care i could see a tablet lasting 5 years which I'm sure would be a pretty big win on the ecology front.

Re:Counter-intuitive (2)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759363)

So there is no reason, other than carelessness or the desire to "keep up with the joneses" to replace your devices annually.

Annually? Is there any evidence that this is the mean lifetime of these toys? I have an e-ink Kindle rather than a "tablet", but most of the people I know who have tablets have only replaced them because they dropped them or gave them to their kid and got the newer model for themselves.

My cell phones have always performed admirably, really only dying when I drop them repeatedly or get them damp repeatedly. Before my newest phone, I replaced the screen on my old iPhone twice before giving it up because the WiFi went out. Now I have a considerably cheaper Android phone, so I guess I'll see how it holds up.

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761209)

My IBM T21 made in 2000 still works fine with Ubuntu, although its no longer useful for Windows. Or Windows is no longer useful, I am not sure which. Do the electrons in Windows wear out?

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39760107)

Producing semiconductors is a fairly energy-intensive process, tablets are full of semiconductors -- chips, the screen, etc. I can believe, though, that if a tablet is used instead of a printed newspaper every day for 2 or so years, there is a net energy savings.

Producing paper is a far more energy intensive process, especially when you compare the volumes we are talking about here. A tablet vs. a year or two of the New York Times on paper? Not to mention the environmental cost of logging, pulp mills and physical transportation and disposal of paper and assorted byproducts...

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 2 years ago | (#39760383)

The burning of e-waste to extract metals, the mining of precious metals, shipping from 2nd/3rd world producing countries to consuming countries, and discarding/replacing electronics prematurely, datacenters to host, replicate, and backup the offerings, the air-conditioning. It's probably a more involved analysis than just paper versus 300kb of data.

But it's definitely nice not to have to end up with a stack of paper every week.

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

jaymemaurice (2024752) | more than 2 years ago | (#39760569)

Production of the Ink, maintenance of the press, green house gasses from landfill, decomposition of the stuff they killed and didn't keep when they logged the trees... The only thing that is intuitive is that there are sooo many varibles to make such a study that it can easily be made into propaganda and well over the fact checking ability of many of us (myself included)

Re:Counter-intuitive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762403)

But, what if a newspaper was read by two or more people, instead of each owning an e-reader?
The study assume one subscription being replaced by one device.

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757819)

How is this in any way counter-intuitive?

If I had to guess, I'd probably say with the recyclable nature of paper as opposed to the large amount of ewaste we create globally buying newer devices for the same purpose over and over, it would create the perception that creating a device to read the news off of would seem rather counter-intuitive than reading from a recyclable paper product.

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757849)

Note that this is a study about greenhouse gas emissions, not landfills. Recycling paper requires energy, as does printing a newspaper. For a single issue of any newspaper, the tablet is more expensive in terms of gas emission; but over a long enough period of time, it is reasonable to think that the electricity consumed by a tablet receiving a newspaper is lower than the energy used to print a newspaper.

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757901)

Except that the word "seems" was used, therefore the subject was about the *perception* of what would be more efficient. Obviously when you think about it, it becomes more clear, but at first glance it would *seem* counter-intuitive.

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

bobwyman (175558) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757835)

How is this in any way counter-intuitive?

Because manufacturing, powering and disposing of the devices seems intuitively like a set of processes that would consume a great deal of energy and produce a great deal of emissions as a side effect.

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39758255)

Except, of course, that making paper, making ink, cutting down paper to size, printing said paper, assembling individual sheets into desired format, folding it down, loading it into vehicles, distributing to point of sale, displacing oneself to said point of sale to acquire newspaper, eventually chucking it into the recycle bin, collecting recyclable material, transporting to recycle plant, recycle it, transport it to distributor, transferring from distributor to end client, rinse, repeat, etc, consumes a SHITLOAD of energy, times 365 days a year.

I find it really absurd that anyone would consider "counter intuitive" the provable fact that using a tablet or e-reader will consume a lot less energy than manufacturing and distributing dead-tree-editions EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE YEAR. I mean, it's kinda common sense.

Yes whats with the conspiracy theories? (3, Insightful)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757877)

Just think of the forests that are chopped down, pulp mills powered by coal to process the pulp, the millions of liters of water used to process the pulp, millions of liters of chemicals to bleach the paper, and finally the tens of thousands of trucks and even ships used to transport the paper to the printers....then of course the printers are on industrial scale all in themselves. A world of tablets, which should become smaller, more powerful, more environmentally friendly over time, could save many forests.

Re:Yes whats with the conspiracy theories? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#39758583)

Chopping down forests for paper decreases CO2 emissions because where most of the paper is used and made those forests are replanted. You end up with a net loss if you burn the paper, but most of it ends up in landfills eventually.

Everything else you mentioned is a CO2 producer though.

Re:Yes whats with the conspiracy theories? (2)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759383)

Landfills these days decompose most of the organic materials. They repeatedly pour the water collected at the base of the landfill back over the top until it starts coming out relatively clean. This significantly extends the useful life of the landfills, and reduces the long-term costs of maintaining it. They even produce enough methane to run on-site generators and such (better for air quality and global warming than releasing it).

Re:Yes whats with the conspiracy theories? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39760281)

This (http://comenius.susqu.edu/biol/312/mical97a.pdf) paper is a bit old, but they estimate that only 16-18% of the carbon in landfilled newsprint is released back into the air. Even if you double that, you're still sequestering most of it. If you capture the methane that's produced and burn it, you're offsetting other carbon sources. The forestry industry, including pulp and paper, actually has remarkably low fossil fuel use in production because a lot of the energy comes from burning wood scraps, which is carbon neutral. So even if you've got very effective decomposition in landfills and you don't capture the methane, you probably still have net sequestration of carbon by burying paper.

Re:Yes whats with the conspiracy theories? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 2 years ago | (#39759169)

We won't really be there until tablets can do everything that paper can.

If you've ever used a pressure-sensitive tablet (a good one, that is) you can really see the difference. You can't get the kind of precision that you'd like as an artist or writer.

I guess my metric would be this: when you go to your local college campus and see a majority of kids sketching local scenery with a tablet and stylus instead of a sketch pad, we're there.

Re:Counter-intuitive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39757883)

"It seems counter-intuitive but a RAND full lifecycle analysis (PDF) shows that reading news electronically produces fewer GHG emissions than reading news on paper:

How is this in any way counter-intuitive?

Because a lot of people genuinely don't understand how something that is paper can use more energy than something that runs on electricity. I have to explain this to my mother frequently.

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757923)

It's so counterintuitive that I would really like to check the data to see if they accounted for all the factors.

Newspapers are made from wood, which takes carbon out of the air. When you put the newspaper in a landfill, it takes hundreds of years to decay, so basically you are sequestering carbon-- a net reduction of carbon from the atmosphere.

The trees they make paper from are typically fast-growing trees planted on land dedicated for this purpose, by the way-- they don't cut down old-growth forest for paper. (Actually, much of the paper produced is made from "waste" -- the tree parts from logging and sawmill operations that can't be made into lumber.)

Re:Counter-intuitive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39757987)

Yeah, except all the harvesting of those trees runs a lot of fossil fuel burning equipment. I would doubt paper production is carbon neutral let alone negative. And that's before you put any ink on said paper.

Newspapers are carbon sinks [Re:Counter-intuitive] (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762251)

Nice thought, except when you actually read the article, there is no support for that statement.

The referenced study did not count the carbon sequestered as a negative contribution to the atmospheric carbon.

They list the weight of an average newspaper at 0,2 kg, and they list the atmospheric carbon emitted in producing it as 0.254 kg per thousand kilograms of newspaper (table 3.1, page 11), which comes to 0.025% of the weight of the newspaper. If even a tenth of percent of the mass of the newspaper ends up as sequestered in landfills, it sequesters four times the carbon emitted in producing it, and then print newspapers are atmospheric carbon sinks, not carbon sources.

Re:Counter-intuitive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39758091)

Paper making and printing are essentially chemical industrial activities. It takes a lot of energy to produce large quantities of uniform, quality paper and ink suitable for high speed automated printing. The carbon content of the wood is just one small factor.

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39758159)

When you put the newspaper in a landfill, it takes hundreds of years to decay,

But when you incinerate it...

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39758363)

What kind of paper do you use in newspaper where you live?

A lot of /. readers will be familiar with termites. These handy creatures will put your paper through the natural recycling process as soon as they can get at it. If you don't have termites, there will be plenty other bugs willing to do the job and "bugs" goes from beetles to bacteria.

When I see 3rd world waste tips on the TV, there always seems to be fires burning. I imagine this may happen on landfills nearer home. That takes very little time either. If paper is left in a hole and gets wet, it will break down really quick too. It's biological...

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 2 years ago | (#39758209)

At some point you have to move the news from where it's created to where it's read.

With the online versions, that goes over the internet.

With the physical version, that happens with fossil-fuel burning trucks. It takes a LOT of fuel to move a large quantities of a heavy product like paper.

It's not counter-intuititve at all. It's obvious.

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39758319)

The amount of carbon in the paper itself is negligible (even if it is sequestered rather than incinerated) compared to the CO2 produced in the papermaking process. Growing trees to turn into newspapers which you then toss into a landfill is a really lousy way of sequestering carbon.

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 2 years ago | (#39762271)

The amount of carbon in the paper itself is negligible (even if it is sequestered rather than incinerated) compared to the CO2 produced in the papermaking process. .

Nice thought, but the study referenced in the original article states the opposite: that the amount of carbon spent producing the paper is much less than the mass of the paper itself.

Growing trees to turn into newspapers which you then toss into a landfill is a really lousy way of sequestering carbon.

I see no support for that statement. Sequestering is sequestering. Newspapers, corn cobs, grass clippings, old Readers Digests-- it's all the same.

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757959)

I'm with you. I'd have been absolutely shocked if there were realistic evidence pointing the other direction.

Re:Counter-intuitive (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757981)

How is this in any way counter-intuitive?

This.

I realize that semiconductor manufacturing has its own set of associated evils, but seriously? Did we actually have any doubt whatsoever that somewhere on the order of 500-2500 newspapers would damage the environment less to view them electronically than by cutting down the sole significant organic CO2 sink known to man, transporting them, bleaching them, drying them, transporting them again, pulping them, bleaching again, transporting them again, milling into paper, transporting them again, printing on them with hydrocarbon inks, and transporting yet one more time, a dead-tree edition of the Daily?

Okay, a single day's run, we might have a toss-up, conceptually. But over the life of the device? Seriously?

Ric Romero reports: Teens having sex? More likely than you think - Film at 11!

Re:Counter-intuitive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39758195)

than by cutting down the sole significant organic CO2 sink known to man, transporting them, bleaching them, drying them, transporting them again, pulping them, bleaching again, transporting them again, milling into paper, transporting them again, printing on them with hydrocarbon inks, and transporting yet one more time, a dead-tree edition of the Daily?

If that was what actually happens, you may have a point. But you missed a step.

1) Plant trees on farm for sole purpose of being used as paper
2) Insert your list here

You conveniently ignore the fact that exactly zero of those trees would have ever been allowed to grow or exist in the first place, if being turned into paper wasn't the end goal.

Comparing cutting down zero natural trees for millions of news papers to manufacturing of computer equipment is a perfectly valid comparison to study. Each has many downsides as you point out.

Now we know that even without killing a single natural tree, that process still produces more emissions.

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

ignavus (213578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39760631)

And then, after you have read the newspaper, you toss it in the bin, which has to be emptied into a dumpster and transported yet another time to the dump, where the inks are pollutants.

Re:Counter-intuitive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39760653)

The inks haven't been pollutants since they banned lead based inks, 27 years ago. Time to get with the program.

Re:Counter-intuitive (1)

buybuydandavis (644487) | about 2 years ago | (#39758585)

"It seems counter-intuitive but a RAND full lifecycle analysis (PDF) shows that reading news electronically produces fewer GHG emissions than reading news on paper:

How is this in any way counter-intuitive?

It's hard to understand to whom this would be counter intuitive. I could see people wondering a little about the total cost of infrastructure for delivery of a paper in either method - which could hardly be said to be intuitive in either case.

But clearly the electronic version is a winner for marginal cost hands down. Imagine the energy it takes to create the paper used in the newspaper.

However (3, Insightful)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757755)

They still take as many green pieces of paper to subscribe to

Re:However (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757855)

You can get pretty much all popular periodicals and newspapers for free. Very helpful people online choose to redistribute them for free to anyone who wants them :)

Paying for things is so 20th century.

Re:However (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757889)

Even without that factor, between direct deposit and e-payment (by cc#, bitcoin, paypal...), it's kinda tough to actually need to move greenbacks for a pay service.

No shocker if the US suddenly forces me to send my dollars to the oven for conversion to an electronic account in the next...decade or half? The "created jobs" that print the money might throw a year-long fit to delay that but they're not the boss there.

Re:However (2)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 2 years ago | (#39758069)

I still prefer cash for most transactions (at least ones in person) because it's anonymous, secure, and untraceable. It's a dirty secret of government that they need those features sometimes, too. Cash won't go away as long as there are covert operations that need funding and deniability.

Re:However (1)

tommy8 (2434564) | more than 2 years ago | (#39760031)

Where can i find all this free stuff?

Re:However (1)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 2 years ago | (#39760403)

Not sure what sqrt means, but Calibre has many recipes for many sites to create "issues" from their headlines. It has support for subscription based sites, many international ones, etc.

The only negative is that it doesn't keep track of what you've already downloaded, so for a less frequently updated site, it would compile in the same article it did yesterday, making it less of a "daily edition" feel to your download.

Re:However (1)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 2 years ago | (#39760397)

The Financial Times costs $1, tax free. I think print is $3. The WSJ is $2 plus tax. Last I saw, it was $2.50 for print.

no shit (2)

hjf (703092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757761)

No shit sherlock.

I wonder how much power went into this study. And the carbon footprint of it.

Re:no shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39757765)

In other news, riding your bicycle to work produces less air pollution than driving a car.

Re:no shit (0)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757853)

What if you only eat fast-food for a month? Would you produce more air pollution in that case?

That's an idea for Morgan Spurlock! SuperGas me!

Re:no shit (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 2 years ago | (#39758035)

Not if you're on fire.

Re:no shit (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39758043)

I agree on this, how is this paper *not* a waste of time.
Oh, newsflash, emailing 20 page contracts pollutes less than printing them and sending a over with a messanger on a cab.

How wonderfully useless. (2)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757769)

assuming that all the GHG emissions associated with producing and operating e-readers or tablet computers are ascribed to reading newspapers

Also, my PC makes a very inefficient desk lamp, assuming I only use my PC as a desk lamp.

Re:How wonderfully useless. (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757851)

Ah, well, that teaches me to re-read before I post; at first I thought the headline was "Newspapers pollute less than e-readers and tablets".

But now the article sounds even sillier; of course it costs less to show text on my screen than to manufacture paper and ink, run them through a printing press, and deliver a physical object to my front door. Sure, electronic news requires servers, routers, and optical fibre, but physical news requires print shops, warehouses, and trucks. The former is far more efficient at transporting information than the latter. Was anyone seriously arguing otherwise?

Re:How wonderfully useless. (1)

lyml (1200795) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757921)

So not only was it obvious when you thought they said that newspapers polluted less than e-readers, but also now that you realize they pollute more than e-readers?

It couldn't have been very obvious to begin with then could it?

Re:How wonderfully useless. (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757945)

This is slashdot, self-correction won't prevent you from getting flamed and rated a troll.

But, that's ok, cause some of us appreciate it when people admit to making a mistake, even better that you caught it yourself.

Fine, except... (2)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757771)

It sounds OK, except that in our house a newspaper is typically read by at least 3 people. Would they allow three e-readers to access a single subscription? Would they do that for the same price as a single e-reader? At present, it sounds unlikely for most of them. Needing multiple subscriptions and multiple e-readers would seem to involve an economic hit and reduce any GHG benefit.

The exception that I'm aware of is The Economist magazine, which allows a number of devices to download its issues on a single set of credentials (we use apps on two Android phones and full web access for two or three computers). Of course, that access is provided as a side benefit to having the paid dead-tree subscription, so it probably does not reduce any GHG emissions.

Think bigger (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757893)

Forestry industry around the world employs millions of people around the world, and associated infrastructure, tablets and a connected world will virtually eliminate this entire industry. The greatest contribution to release of carbon in the world today is due to slash and burn techniques in deforestation. The articles numbers are accurate. Everyone should do their part and adopt to the digital age that is the 21st century.

Re:Think bigger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39758447)

About the only issue I have with this is that governments and corporations seem to be doing everything in their power to control the fundamental essence (information flow) of this "digital age". If the price of an environmental ethic is to subscribe to only their voice, I have a hard time believing that the environment will stay protected for long.

Re:Fine, except... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39757937)

In your house do you read 3 separate newspapers, or do you wait and read the same one? Why can't you do that with a single e-reader?

Re:Fine, except... (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39758057)

Why is this downvoted? It's 100% common sense, there's nothing wrong about this.

Re:Fine, except... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39758081)

Newspapers are split in sections. You can give the art section to mama bear, the sports section to papa bear and read the comics at the same time.

Re:Fine, except... (1)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 2 years ago | (#39758123)

With a physical newspaper I can pull out the comics section, the sports section, the lifestyle section and give them all to different people while I continue to read the front page at the same time as them. We can rotate sections later but no one has to go without reading at any given time. Do you see why I can't do that with a single e-reader?

Re:Fine, except... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39758189)

Most of the e-readers are even worse than that. They are tied to 1 user. So if you are both reading a book you have to have some way to book mark something twice. With a real book it is easy. E-readers are cool but right now they have all sorts of weird drm restrictions....

Re:Fine, except... (4, Informative)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 2 years ago | (#39758297)

Yes.

My family has three Kindles on the same account and all the books are shared between them. I would suppose that any type of subscription would apply to that same model as well. So, one subscription on all three devices.

The downside is they must be all on the same account, but that should be obvious.

Re:Fine, except... (1)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 2 years ago | (#39758411)

If you're fine with credential sharing, then yes, the New York Times allows you to access it on different devices. As for your Economist subscription, a digital subscription costs the exact same as a paper + digital subscription. If you don't need to read the paper version then going digital-only would reduce GHG emissions.

Re:Fine, except... (1)

RodBee (2607323) | about 2 years ago | (#39758657)

... or you could lend one e-reader to the other two readers. You know, like you do with the newspaper.

It seems counter-intuitive... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39757787)

... if you're retarded. Does the poster have any idea how much carbon footprint is involved in the paper milling process? It's obvious that e-readers save on that alone, not to mention ink, delivery, oil and energy for the pressing machines, etc. What an idiot.

Problem is... (2)

DeeEff (2370332) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757795)

Most people I know that would read the newspaper, wouldn't buy (or use) a tablet.
And most people I know that have a tablet, wouldn't read the newspaper.

Quite the paradox....

Re:Problem is... (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757833)

Speak for yourself. I have seen plenty of people download and use the New York Times app on their tablets, and they synchronize the tablet in the morning before heading to work.

Re:Problem is... (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757897)

Literacy is on the wane everywhere these days. Even NYtimes is losing money hand over fist in their digital subscriptions. Of course, new media is quickly supplanting the old.

Re:Problem is... (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757963)

Literacy is on the wane? I'm sorry but more people read now than ever. The only significant factor is deciding what and when we read.

Re:Problem is... (1)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 2 years ago | (#39760417)

Most tablets I see have some game or video on them. eInk readers are obviously always displaying text.

Re:Problem is... (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#39758615)

"Most people I know that would read the newspaper, wouldn't buy (or use) a tablet."

Those people are generally very old and will be dead soon.

"And most people I know that have a tablet, wouldn't read the newspaper."

I read them online, but wouldn't pay for a sub. Let them make money from adverts if they like.

Re:Problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39760839)

Prefer to read dead-tree newspapers myself. Mainly, because a newspaper can be used for more than just reading, but also that I don't have to worry about if it's charged or not - or if it gets damaged. Some of the things that can be done with a newspaper that you probably wouldn't want to do with a tablet:

- Use as an umbrella
- For various projects around the house (painting, re-potting plants, art, etc.)
- For moving/packing
- Moving/killing household insects
- For starting fires/BBQs
- Giving to someone else once finished

Tablet reading is ok, but I find it to be more annoying than enjoyable. Too small and inflexible.

Counter-intuitive? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39757841)

Why would it seem counter-intuitive? You need to buy a new newspaper every day but you only buy an e-reader once, if you know how to take care of your gadgets.

If you go with a Kindle, you need to account for all the manufacturing and recycling of all components, along with transport of it all. However, you only need to count all those steps once.

If you go with newspaper, you also need to count all the energy and chemicals required to print and distribute newspapers every day. The paper can be recycled, but that requires more energy for transportation back to the recycling plant and more energy and chemicals to recycle and re-manufacture more paper.

The real question is, how long does a Kindle 4 need to last before it has the same "footprint" (from manufacturing to recycling) as daily newspapers? You'd need to set a size of newspaper (dimensions of the pages, number of pages, type of paper, type of inks, etc). It's a really complex question.
 

Re:Counter-intuitive? (1)

Kergan (780543) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761621)

The real question is, how long does a Kindle 4 need to last before it has the same "footprint" (from manufacturing to recycling) as daily newspapers? You'd need to set a size of newspaper (dimensions of the pages, number of pages, type of paper, type of inks, etc). It's a really complex question.

That's kind of a straw man. With a Kindle, you get to read thousands of additional books without needing to print any. If you upgrade to an iPad, you also get to play Cut the Rope. (Heh, good luck with keeping kids busy in a car by handing them a newspaper instead.)

Paper mills are incredibly polluting (2)

Fizzol (598030) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757975)

If you've ever been near one you'll know it. They smell horrendously and are one of the biggest polluters in the world. And as far as literacy goes, world wide it dropped by half between 1970 and 2005, and reading in the US, at least for novels, has rebounded in recent years.

Re:Paper mills are incredibly polluting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39758031)

And as far as literacy goes, world wide it dropped by half between 1970 and 2005

You're an idiot. The world illiteracy rate has dropped by half between 1970 and 2005.

Re:Paper mills are incredibly polluting (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#39758597)

He's not necessarily an idiot. Maybe he's just illiterate.

Re:Paper mills are incredibly polluting (1)

Fizzol (598030) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759347)

Typical Slashdot, ignore what I said, but scream bloody hell about a typing mistake.

E-Reader or Tablet but not a Laptop? (2)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39757989)

My computer is on all day anyway, so I use it to read the news. Now this guy is telling me I have to use a tablet or e-reader to save the Earth? Sounds like someone got paid for that "analysis".

Define Newspaper (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39758015)

What is this? Is it new?

RAND? (3, Informative)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#39758167)

I can't help but feel there is a bias.

RAND Corporation (Research ANd Development[2]) is a nonprofit global policy think tank first formed to offer research and analysis to the United States armed forces by Douglas Aircraft Company. It is currently financed by the U.S. government and private endowment,[3]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAND [wikipedia.org]

Re:RAND? (2)

Dynedain (141758) | about 2 years ago | (#39758635)

The RAND corporation is huge. They're a research-based think tank. The US government is their biggest customer because they get hired to do research on public policy.

When you have a question like "I want to roll out new computers for all grade school students in California. Will this actually improve education and will it have an impact on jobs in NY in 15 years?", the RAND corporation is who you call to get an answer.

faulty analysis (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#39758183)

newspaper readership has already declined dramatically due to internet and broadcast sources. the environmental footprint from desktops, laptops, pda, phones, tablets is fearsome but these devices are used for other purposes also

The headline is not supported by the summary (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39758201)

The headline is not supported by the summary let alone by the article. The headline says "Newspapers pollute less on E-readers and Tablets". Yet the summary says nothing about how much pollution is generated to produce a paper newspaper vs reading it on an electronic device. The article and the summary only talk about the relative green house gases of these two distribution methods. Perhaps people have forgotten that there is a lot of very serious pollution out there. Pollution that is actual poison. Even if you consider green house gases pollution, there are many types of pollution that are much worse. This article does not examine those pollutants in any way, so does not really address the issue described by the headline.

Great.. (0)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39758263)

Just what we needed, bring in the 'greeines' into this.. I used to love my e-ink.

Get them involved and it will be ruined, or at least make me want to toss it into the street and 'pollute'

animal rights (2)

pbjones (315127) | about 2 years ago | (#39758465)

I'm sure that when use by animals is taken into account, crapping on newspaper vs. e-reader, the paper is more economical. You don't find e-readers hanging on a nail in a remote out-house/dunny/thunder-box.

Brought to you by... (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | more than 2 years ago | (#39761183)

...the Department of the Bleedin' Obvious.

Ever live downwind of a papermill? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39762783)

Those plants stink worse than almost any other industrial process. On bad days it feels like the fumes are sucking the air out of your lungs.

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