Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Reading the newspaper electronically saves the environment

Reading the newspaper 30 minutes a day on e-paper instead of a regular newspaper is environmentally preferable. If you read a Web-based newspaper instead, you can only read for ten minutes to produce the same load on the environment. This has been calculated in a study at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden.

The study was carried out at the newly launched Center for Sustainable Communications at the Royal Institute of Technology, in collaboration with STFI-Packforsk. It investigated the environmental impact of various ways of reading the daily paper. The findings show that a half hour of reading an Internet newspaper per day has about the same environmental effect as reading a paper newspaper.

"If you read the newspaper for 30 minutes each day on e-paper instead, the load will be lower. Reading it on the Web for 10 minutes yields the same load. The alternatives are not entirely comparable­you obviously get more out of reading for 30 minutes than 10. Of course, reading the paper version is not really comparable to reading electronically," says Åsa Moberg, one of the researchers behind the report.

e-paper has a resolution of 170 dots per inch, which is twice as high as what we are used to from computer screens, offering sharpness close to that of a newspaper. It can also be read in bright light and doesn't flutter the way a computer screen does. Some prototypes are thin and can even be rolled up, just like a traditional newspaper.

Using so-called simplified live-cycle assessment (LCA), the researchers studied the resource use and environmental impact from the entire life cycle of the various alternatives: editorial work, paper production and printing, production of computers and e-paper respectively, reading the newspaper, and waste management of the paper and electronics.

The greatest burden on the environment for the paper version is the production of the paper. For the Web-based version what harms the environment is primarily the use of energy in order to read the paper on the Net, while with the e-paper version it's the production of the terminal.

"The environmental load and differences in environmental performance for the products change depending on whether you place it in a Swedish or a European perspective, primarily owing to different means of generating electricity. The products' contribution to different sorts of environmental impact differs as well, but in general the paper and Internet newspapers with a longer reading time burden the environment more than e-paper and the Internet version with a shorter reading time," says Åsa Moberg.

Other factors that affect the environmental load are how many people read a specific copy of a newspaper and the length of life for a computer, a screen, and e-paper. Whether the equipment is used by one or several people and whether it is used for purposes other than newspaper reading are also factors to be considered.

e-paper is still under development, and more detailed studies of production, substances used, and waste management need to be done to steer this product development in the right direction, according to Åsa Moberg.

"The study shows that e-paper has potential from an environmental point of view if readers and newspaper companies are interested. However, we still don't know how it will be dealt with as waste, and the data for the chemicals involved are uncertain," she adds.

The study "Screening environmental life cycle assessment of printed, Web-based, and tablet e-paper newspapers" was carried out by Åsa Moberg, Section for Strategic Environmental Analysis at the Royal Institute of Technology and STFI-Packforsk, Martin Johansson, STFI-Packforsk, Göran Finneveden, Section for Strategic Environmental Analysis at the Royal Institute of Technology, and Alex Jonsson, Section for Media Technology and Graphic Production at the Royal Institute of Technology.

Contact Åsa Moberg, phone: +46 (0)8-790 7395,

Pressofficer Magnus Myrén;; +46-705 70 43 50

Magnus Myrén | idw
Further information:

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht Product placement: Only brands placed very prominently benefit from 3D technology
07.07.2016 | Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt

nachricht NASA Goddard network maintains communications from space to ground
02.03.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>