Tablets optimize

Infographic: The sustainability of tablets

This infographic by Uberflip examines the environmental issues surrounding the growth of tablet consumption.

Uberflip created the following infographic, which shows that the growth of tablets is causing a steep decline in the use of paper, a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, and a decrease in water consumption for the production of electronic devices. According to Neil Bhapkar, Director of Marketing at Uberflip,

“It’s important that we as businesses and consumers don’t lose sight of how this widespread tablet adoption is impacting the sustainability of our natural resources and environment.”

If we all purchase a tablet, would we inadvertently save the planet? What are your thoughts about the sustainability of tablets? Share your opinion(s) in the discussion thread below.

About

Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the Smartphones and Tablets blogs.

15 comments
andrew232006
andrew232006

How many printed books does it take to match the environmental damage caused by creating one tablet? How many books will the average tablet prevent printing? I'd guess between 0-1 for most people.

TechLibUser543
TechLibUser543

These comments and this article are interesting since they all seem to accept the premise that humans cause carbon emissions that are damaging the planet. Words like "sustainability" are part of the vocabulary of those spreading this unproven hypothesis.

fozzy215
fozzy215

This article does not seem to take into account the 1000's of litres of water used in the mining, manufacture,transportation and selling of a device. Although the figures are not current, an article published by the UN in 2004 (http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=10007&Cr=computer&Cr1) stated that about 1500 L of water are used to manufacture of a desktop PC. I would imagine that an iPad would still consume hundreds if not thousands of litres of water in its manufacture. Even the reprocessing of e-waste as these devices are turned over for newer and better ones would require vast amounts of water. The reprocessing of a book, possibly after it has gone through the hands of many readers, will still require the use of water - but how much?. The calculations are not as simple as this article makes out. Comparing the 7 gallons (35 L) of water to manufacture a book to the half a litre of water needed to write an e-book is somewhat misleading if you consider the total cost of both the information and the media in which they are written etc etc.

gwd3
gwd3

The fact that Apple and Samsung are offering discounts if you exchange your outdated tablet for a new one is nice and exchange programs have been in place for some time; however, the discount is not enough to offset the cost of buying direct or through designated channels, when deeper discounts are still offered through discount resellers. Couple that with the fact that there are many more manufacturers of electronics who don't have this recycle policy.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

1. LED lights are much more environmentally friendly and really taking over now, as well as being much safer to use than the CFLs are. Also the paper in printed books can be recycled into new books etc. 2. A printed book has a life span of many decades and once it's produced it costs no more for another person to use or read it. Yet an electronic copy has to be electronically transferred between systems and cost a bit in power etc to be read each time you do or for each person who reads it. Also many electronic documents from the 1980s can no longer be used due to the systems used then no longer being in use. It's hoped the new e-book styles will stay around a long, but think of how many Beta videos are now useless due to the hardware to sue them not being available, and we may see the same sort of result when this current format war between iPad, Nook, and Kindle reaches a conclusion. On a related issue, I'd like to know what's going on to recycle the materials used in e-waste. Years ago I worked for a company that maintained 20 year old, and older, mainframes and we were often asked to dispose of the very old gear the clients were replacing. One of my tasks was to arrange that and I actually made a profit from the e-waste disposal of old IBM mainframes by first recovering the brass, copper, and gold from the systems and then putting the remaining metal through for recycling as well.

Regulus
Regulus

We need it NOW. It's almost Holiday / Gift giving season and I really need a comprehensive (Features) comparison chart for all of the (TABLET) products available. The market is now (IMHO) flooded with 'obfuscation' to totally confuse the buying public. PLEASE HELP !!!

SKDTech
SKDTech

Where are the environmental damage statistics for mining and refining the materials used in the construction of the average device? Those have longer lasting effects than the harvesting of trees for paper. Even the recycling process introduces its own pollution into the environment and energy costs. And then there is the fact that most of these devices are designed to be replaced within 1-3 years (the device manufacturers would of course prefer 1 year).

techrepublic@
techrepublic@

The vast majority of the climatologist community disagrees with you but you know better ... right?!

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

I've read other articles espousing the "green" aspect of going paperless in regards to using electronic devices, and few touch on the aspect of what do we do with the old devices. Sort of like not being able to see the forest for the trees...yes, I know, bad pun!

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

spent the last few years studying the climate as shown in the human met bureau reports for the last 200 plus years who claim the majority of the co2 emissions and planetary damage is done by man; and the scientist who've spent the last few decades studying the climate as shown in the natural records for the last 50,000 plus years who say what humans have done in the last few centuries is a just a fly speck of shit compared to nature. Now we all agree we should keep any emissions low - well, I think we should agree. But that doesn't mean we should spread total bullshit to justify wasting billions on BS programs so a few politicians can look good while seeming to be fixing a problem that doesn't really exist. When Mount St Helen's blew it's top it put out mire CO2 and other green house gas emissions than the whole human race has done in more than several thousand years. And that's a fairly common natural event. The records they go off about the average global temperature raising in the last couple of centuries are from meteorological stations that only started measuring a bit over 200 years ago, a few years AFTER a major volcanic eruption in Indonesia the year before that caused a significant drop in global temperatures to the extent that frosts occurred in the height of summer world wide - they called that year the Year without Summer - - I think it was 1816. The average global temperature has NOT yet climbed back up to what it was prior to that eruptions - Ave Glob temp as calculated from maritime logs of the era available in archives. So yes, he DOES know better than the idiot wankers who promote human caused global warming. It's nature rebalancing from the 1815 Mount Tembora eruption.

jonrosen
jonrosen

First, was that it was apple/mac/i-item across the board for the comparisons for CO2 use, etc... There are obviously many others. But what makes me find it so amusing, is when compared to the comments about e-waste, I get the feeling that more of the devices ARE the mac/apple/i-items.. I'm a geek. Hands down. But I haven't bothered with a tablet yet, and I was slow to even go the smartphone route. I don't waste the money on every trending device, which seems to be what Apple relies on, and their fanboys definitely help with. 'what, it's only been 6 months and the next iphone is out? I MUST BUY IT!'... Unless these people have a gigantic family, even passing down the year-old 'obsolete' items to their kids, they are going to be tossing these things out pretty quickly. While tablets and phones haven't quite hit the plateau of desktops or laptops (I tend to buy/build one about every 6 years or so), I think they're going to hit that soon, and might calm things a bit. And I can definitely see the 'printing less', use for tablets, as I already do it less thanks to my phone.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

the others are going from only a couple of hundred years of a few written records and ignoring the over a thousand years of written records that disagree with what they want the answer to be!!

techrepublic@
techrepublic@

... that published 99.8% of the scientific articles on the subject over the last two decades?

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

claim and have records to prove that humans are NOT the major factors in global warming. In fact there is human evidence that the world was much warmer than it is today in at least two periods in the last three thousand years. So, since we know the temperature has gone up and down, to claim humans are the main cause in global warming, you also have to claim they've caused global cooling at other times too.

techrepublic@
techrepublic@

"Scientists do not disagree about human-caused global warming. It is the ruling paradigm of climate science, in the same way that plate tectonics is the ruling paradigm of geology. We know that continents move. We know that the earth is warming and that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the primary cause. These are known facts about which virtually all publishing scientists agree. " http://www.jamespowell.org/index.html And by the way, you are also completely wrong on the pile of nonsense you wrote about volcanism.