This is the the final chapter in our our 7-part series, where we're exploring the carbon footprint and environmental impacts of the new iPad, comparing it to those of the iPad 2 and trying to figure out if Apple has made any progress from environmental perspective with its new iPad and what's the new break-even point between books and ebooks on the iPad.
It means that putting aside all the other uses of the new iPad, then from a carbon footprint point of view, it becomes a more environmental friendly alternative option for book reading once you finished reading your 24th book on your new iPad (or 25th book if you want to be more accurate).
This is of course a conservative estimate since the iPad, as a tablet computer, has many other users and actually reading ebooks is not the most popular use of these devices. If you take other uses in consideration, the break-even point may be lower.
Using the figure of 7.46kg CO2 to represent the lifecycle carbon emissions of an average book and given that the carbon footprint of the iPad 2 is 130kg CO2, then the break-even point is: iPad 2 = 17.4 paper books.
It means that putting aside all the other uses of the iPad 2, then from a carbon footprint point of view, it becomes a more environmental friendly alternative option for book reading once you finished reading your 17th book on your new iPad (or 18th book if you want to be more accurate).
Our take: The new iPad has a significantly higher break-even point comparing to the iPad 2, representing the differences between their carbon footprints.
Bottom line: Making the argument that reading ebooks is greener has become a bit more difficult with the new iPad as the break-even point has gone up. This is definitely not the direction it should be going with newer versions of the iPad. Better devices should also mean smaller carbon footprints, otherwise this might be a technological progress, but it's definitely not a sustainable one.
Here are the parts of the series that were released so far:
Founded in 2007, Eco-Libris is a green company working to green up the book industry in the digital age by promoting the adoption of green practices in the book industry, balancing out books by planting trees, and helping to make e-reading greener.
To achieve these goals Eco-Libris is working with book readers, publishers, authors, bookstores and others in the book industry worldwide. So far Eco-Libris balanced out over 179,500 books, which results in more than 200,000 new trees planted with its planting partners in developing countries.