Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. The three R’s that have been drilled into the minds of kindergarteners for ages. So why is it that in 2009 about 30 million tons of plastic waste generated from the US, only 7% were recovered for recycling. College students across the country are surrounded by recycling bins on campus, one wonders if the fight can be won.
As the e-book sales have been increasing over the years due to the advancement of the digital platform and print book sales have slowly decreased, the most common question amongst humans has been "Do e-books have a less environmental impact than printed books?" Unfortunately, this question cannot be answered so easily. In fact, there are several factors that come into play when considering cost and the environmental impacts of e-books and print books.
Before discussing those factors, it is wise to know the difference between an e-book and a print book. According to Merriam-Webster, a [print] book is known as 'a set of printed sheets of paper that are held together inside a cover,' while an e-book can be described as 'a book composed in or converted to digital format for display on a computer screen or handheld device.' This is important because with the digital and technological advancements we see today most print books - past, present, and future - can be typed up and cast out as an electronic-book.
Thus, some of the factors to consider when purchasing a book include how much one plans to spend, on which platform one wants to make a purchase (online or in-store), the means of use and/or post-use, and the environmental impacts that occur during that products lifecycle. Being a college student on a budget, all of these factors should be considered, especially at and near the Ohio University campus.