A printed book has the same environmental impact as a half hamburger – and so does the e-book.
Almost all editors and publishers in the Nordic uses FSC-certified paper when printing books, it is the industry standard. They are also looking into reducing the use of plastic when packing and distributing printed books.
Another aspect that publishers take into consideration is to print the right amount of books, so they all find a home and a happy reader and not end up on a shelf or in some storage.
A printed book or a half hamburger?
According to Göran Finnveden, who is a professor in environmental strategy at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Sweden, a printed book has the same environmental impact as a half hamburger.
“Too read is among the most environmentally friendly things you can do” – Göran Finnveden
Finnveden’s appeal to the book industry is to publish “more and better books”. And also to make sure that the paper used in the books is responsibility manufactured and that the distribution of the books is effective. He also encourages readers to reuse books, hand them in to a flea market or give them to a friend or a relative when you are done reading them, according to an article in Bok365.
A printed book and an e-book has the same environmental impact
According to a study from Royal Institute of Technology published in 2012 an e-book and a printed book has about the same impact on the environment. Newer studies also suggest this, but it depends a bit on indirect parameters such as if you drive a car to the bookstore or not.
– New international research suggest that the study from 2012 still holds up, with maybe a slight advantage to the e-book, but it all depends on the pre-conditions. For a printed book it depends a lot on how much it is read and how you buy the book, if you i.e. take the car to the book store this will impact the result a lot. For the e-book the biggest impact is the device you are reading on and how much you use this device in every day life.