Minimizing your ecological footprint, one eBook at a time!

With businesses, organizations, and individuals striving to implement more environmentally friendly and sustainable practices in their lives, the debate gravitates towards books as well. Traditional print textbooks or eTextbooks? Which is greener?

As of late, sustainability management has taken the rise to cater to both economic growth and environmental protection. According to an article by the Huffington Post, organizations measure their sustainable efforts “under this framework:

1.    Efficiently use raw materials to reduce the creation of waste

2.    Shift to renewable or recycled materials; and

3.    Look for innovative materials or processes that have a lesser impact on the environment”


Multiple people have written on the subject of the actual green properties of both printed books and eBooks and their effects on the environment as a whole. Let’s take a look at a few of the ways printed textbooks and eTextbooks abuse the environment.

Some of the effects on the environment from printed books include: the amount of energy used to create and publish a book, the energy used for the packaging of the book and transportation, the cost of transportation from a warehouse to a bookstore, among many other effects printed books may have on the environment.

But eBooks and eReaders are not innocent from the environmental effects entirely, either. To name a few: an eReader utilizes energy to be manufactured and shipped, as well as energy for an individual reader to use the device as well.

The benefit, though, is that a single device can host a plethora of titles which can be easily accessible anytime, anywhere. Whereas, when a user feels a book has lived up to its potential, often times they do not recycle or reuse (resell in secondhand bookstores, garage sales, donations, etc). Instead, over 37 million tons of paper are thrown away on a yearly basis that could easily have been avoided.

The debate is a continuous one, with new data being comprised and offered for each side of the sustainable efforts of the book industry. One way to ensure your minimizing your ecological footprint, though, is by walking to the library and utilizing what resources are available to read or study

RedShelf’s versatile platform allows for our users to access over 60,000 titles of eBooks and eTextbooks on any device. Yes, even your mobile phone! With unique features to interact with text in ways such as taking notes (cough, saving that spiral notebook if you want) and the ability to use the device while offline as well, RedShelf is supporting a more sustainable way to allow readers everywhere to read anywhere.