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February 24, 2011

Going Green Without Even Knowing It!

With my interest in technology (Apple products specifically), I realized that not only is it fun to have an iPhone, iPad and an iMac, it’s also environmentally more friendly.

We here at Poooh Busters are not only champions of responsible pet guardianship and for supporting Calgary local businesses, we believe in being environmentally responsible.

So I was happy to read an article about how using technology today is helping our environment. This example involves some of my favourite things; books and music. The following is an article from a great “green” website called One Simple Act.

Green Books and Music
Have you ever wondered what the future of the newspaper and books will be in this electronic age? Technology has changed the way we read the written word. There is a plethora of gadgets to make our lives faster and easier and maybe a bit greener. You can read books on computers, electronic tablets, digital readers or e-books, and even some cell phones. And we can listen to music on MP3 players and computers.

Whether you choose a real book or a digital book, they both have an environmental impact. Which is greener? It depends on the number of books you read and the various uses you can get from one electronic gadget.

Each option’s environmental impact is concentrated in a different place. The biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the book industry is from paper production, accounting for almost 70 per cent of the industry’s emissions. For digital readers, the most carbon-intensive step is production of the device itself. The greatest impact of reading online is the energy that it takes to power the computer while reading or listening to music.

Despite the initial cost of electronic book readers and the plastic used to create them, they can have a smaller eco-footprint than paper books. With an e-book reader, you can download books, newspapers and magazines from anywhere so you won’t have to drive to the bookstore to pick up the paper versions. To increase your green points, you can recycle your reader when you're done with it.

If you’re not sold on e-books, there are other ways to be a greener reader. Hopping on your bike and pedaling to the local library will reduce your personal transportation impact. Library books are a much more eco-friendly way than buying a book brand new since it avoids all the costs associated with publishing and transportation. Your local second-hand bookseller is also a good choice for finding reused goods, and websites like Kijiji let you trade your used items with other users and keep more trash out of landfills. Schools, nursing homes, gyms, or shelters may also accept donations of old magazines. Ask first though as there is concern with the spreading of germs.

Carbon offsetting can be used when there are no other green alternatives or along with other green alternatives. Reusing, donating, buying and donating used book and garage sales, freecycling and encouraging publishing companies to print on recycled paper can still be the first alternatives.

One Simple Acts
  • Switch to iTunes: think of the plastic that won't be used for CD cases; the paper that won’t be used for the CD covers; and think of the CD's that won’t stack and take up space.
  • At Tunes for Trees, for every 10 tracks you buy they plant a tree for free.
  • Industrialized nations, which account for 20% of the world's population, consume 87% of the world's printing and writing paper. Try an e-book.
Minimize the environmental impact of your electronics by using it for as long as possible and recycling it at the end of its life.

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