What Are the Environmental Implications of Digital Media?

Email and digital media leave behind more of a carbon footprint than you might think...

For far too long, digital media has been mischaracterized as a “green” option for communicating. The truth is that “going paperless” does not mean going green, and this movement was really done as a cost-savings measure by companies who were making such false claims.

What Are the Environmental Implications of Digital Media?

For years, organizations like Two Sides North America have been dispelling these myths while also promoting print sustainability, and last year Verizon was one such company to change their website to remove “go green with paperless billing” language that was simply not true.

“There’s a whole infrastructure behind every message…”

A recent article in the Washington Post discusses the environmental implications of digital communications, including emails, Netflix streaming, watching TV, and online gaming. The article, entitled How bad is email for the environment?, explores the carbon footprint left behind by these types of technology and reports that French regulators have actually asked companies to cut down on email to save energy. The article notes that the French warning indicates that “there’s a whole infrastructure behind every message, which includes not only the electricity you use but also the energy it takes to store and transmit that information through data centers.”

The article further quotes research done by Mike Berners-Lee, a carbon footprint expert and author, who reported that “a typical year of incoming mail adds 300 pounds of emissions to a person’s carbon footprint, or the equivalent of ‘driving 200 miles in an average car.'” Berners-Lee also adds that the world’s data centers are projected to produce 250 to 340 million tons of CO2 emissions by 2020, nearly to likely doubling the 130 million tons that they were responsible for in 2010.

In a blog post published last year, the Minuteman Press Franchise Review also looked at sustainable printing vs. electronic media. In that article, we reported the results of our research that showed why sustainable print is the truth and why digital media has a long way to go in terms of reducing environmental impact. This is illustrated in the below infographic:

Minuteman Press Franchise Review Infographic - Sustainable Print is the TRUTH … Can You Say the Same about Electronic Media? For more information, visit http://www.shop.minutemanpress.com/franchise/2016/05/25/sustainable-print-is-the-truth-can-you-say-the-same-about-electronic-media

Ultimately, it is important to look at digital media for what it is: a convenience. We are glad to see organizations like Two Sides North America and media outlets like Printing Impressions and the Washington Post report on the environmental implications and CO2 emissions that this convenience produces.

About Minuteman Press

Serving the business community for over 40 years, Minuteman Press’ customer service driven business model provides digital print, design and promotional products and services to businesses from concept review through to completion. We can produce anything you can put a name, image or logo on, from marketing materials and mailings to promotional products and branded apparel. Our slogan – We Design, Print & Promote… YOU! – indicates the wide variety of products and services we offer that helps other businesses grow.

For more information about our products and services or to find your local Minuteman Press, visit www.minutemanpress.com

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