(Paper) "Comparisons of Paper-book and E-book by the scale of carbon footprint" for Asian Symposium on Printing Technology
Comparisons of Paper-book and E-book by the scale of carbon footprint Hirokazu Shimizu,1 Katsuya Nagata2 and Aran Hansuebsai3 1 Waseda University Environmental Research Institute, Japan 2 Waseda University Graduate School of Environment and Energy Engineering, Japan 3 Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand ABSTRACTE-book is currently trying to take place of Paper-book in western book market because of itscompetitive price and easy transfer. Additionally, from the viewpoint of environmental load,many environmentalists believe that shifting to E-book would assist establishing low-carbonreading style for readers. When environmental assessment is conducted to compare Paper-bookto E-book by utilizing Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach, the fact comes out thatcommonly accepted stereotype should be reconsidered in some way. Paper-book is somehowportrayed as the villain in terms of environmental load, but is not all the time when differentscenarios for usage patterns for devices are set out. 1. STUDY MOTIVATIONThe emergence of E-book is remarkable phenomenon especially in US market and it is expectedto influence Asian market sooner or later. Many of printers all over the world worry about rapidshift from Paper-book to E-book in the near future when comparing those by the scale of price,storage space, movability and so forth. A whole lot of academic people making research about environment related matters believethat E-book has competitive edge in terms of environmental load since no paper and othermaterials are consumed. On the other hand, some pinpoint that the loads from producing E-bookreading device and server system for archiving tremendous amount of data are not negligible insome sense. It was sentient of the fact that assertions from both sides are partly true, so shouldbe verified by LCA approach to be compared by factual numerical numbers. Quantification for printing service is already established by past studies, so is utilized toevaluate environmental impact of real Paper-book production. In fact, comparison should beconducted by Integrated LCA method focusing not only on CO2e emission but also on otherimpact categories such as natural resource consumption, energy drain, water pollution, but onlyCO2e emission is selected here for many readers to understand briefly. 2. ANALYSIS2.1 System boundary of the studyEnvironmental loads of both Paper-book and E-book productions are quantified by 5-stage (Rawmaterial acquisition, Production, Distribution, Use and Disposal & Recycle). Before CO2e emission is calculated, system boundary is configured and shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. System boundary of Paper-book and E-book2.2 Carbon calculation of Paper-bookThe specification of Paper-book is a bit modified from the real one since it was not published yetas of this moment, but is faithfully cited at maximum as a case study for comparison use. Calculation consists of Material, Data creation, Printing & Book binding, Distribution andDisposal/Recycle based on 5-stage of system boundary shown in Figure 1. The stage for “Use”is not considered for Paper-book since no additional electricity is used for reading except forlighting and air-conditioning. The load from “Material” is major one because around two thirds of total load comes from it.Among materials, paper has significant impact since it occupies almost 60% as a whole.Whereas, ink and printing plate has no mighty impact though those items are representatives ofprinting itself. Other items, which are additive for dampening solution, glues for perfect binding,polypropylene for cover lamination, have too small impacts to change calculation result. “Data creation” is precisely investigated this time because it is usually difficult for a printer totrace back in detail. Every single load from a meeting for brainstorming at publisher, allwriting/designing/editing/image-editing works and photographing including transportation ischecked over at great length. “Printing & Bookbinding” can be quantified without difficulty because all productionfacilities are visible, but “Distribution” is cannot because it is invisible for a printer. So on thatpoint, it is necessary to set up the scenario here; it is assumed that 6-subscription agent,including one agent handling mail order, are selected to distribute books all over Japan. It issummarized as diagram in Figure 2. Figure 2. Fictional scenario for distributing 5000 books
“Disposal/Recycle” is partly quantified based on scenarios; one is disposal ratio vs. recycleratio of books after consumers purchase (22% vs. 78%) and the other is returned ratio of thebooks (40% returned to publisher’s warehouse on the way of outbound route) after selling thosefor several month at bookstores. Carbon calculation for Paper-book covering all items is summarized in Table 1. Table 1. CO2e calculation for Paper-book
2.3 Carbon calculation of E-bookA book in this case study is not fully digitalized for E-book in practical, so is assumed to be theone for comparison purpose here. There are several kinds of devices, which can be used as E-book readers, but only “iPad”created by Apple is selected here because of its popularity all over the world. Carbon calculation per E-book is achieved in Table 2. Table 2. CO2e calculation for E-book “Data creation” is exactly the same as the process of Paper-book, so the figure is divided by3000 downloads which is the same as the number of sold for Paper-book. “Data management” is the process for data modification to adjust existing data for E-bookformat and data verification to check newly adjusted data. “ICT hosting service” is referenced from carbon footprint certified service by Nihon Unysis.It is supposed that data size for E-book is 1MB and storage for server system is 50GB, so theload for E-Book is extremely small and ignorable based on data size of E-book and storage sizeshown above. “iPad” is selected as a device to read E-book even though there are different kinds of devicesright now. The main reason is that Apple published Environmental Report of main products ontheir web site, such as MacBook/iPad/iPhone, to disclose detailed data of CO2e emissionthroughout life cycles whereas no competitors put before the public. As a result, CO2e emission per E-book is calculated to compare it to Paper-book. Paper-book(579g-CO2e/book) is around much more than E-book (277g-CO2e/book) when iPad is used 2-hour every day all year long. The reason why the time to use iPad is defined as 2-hour a day isthat Apple simply publicizes “intensive daily use of product” to explain usage hours. So, it isassumed that 2-hour use a day can fit to heavy use and set as basic scenario. And then, question arises if all users of iPad are using it for full of 2-hour every single day ornot when utilizing it secondarily to assist main computer. It will be variation factor forsensitivity analysis in the next section.2.4 Sensitivity AnalysisIt is quite difficult to average iPad usage hours per day, so different scenarios are set out forsensitivity analysis purpose. As mentioned above, it is uncertain that how many hours of iPad use is set as precondition byApple, so division process for total CO2e emission of iPad without considering prerequisite ofusage hours might be inadequacy. However, there is no mean for detail checking, thereforeCO2e emission of iPad is calculated for different scenarios drawn from basic scenario. For basic scenario, 2-hour use per day for iPad is set, and then 1.0-hour/0.75hour (45-minute)/0.50 (30-minute) usage hours per day are configured for sensitivity analysis. The loadsto use iPad from different scenarios are calculated and other loads are added to draw the resultfor reading E-books to be compared. The loads from E-book device for different scenarios arecalculated based on Apple’s environmental report and final calculation for E-book issummarized in Table 3 and in Figure 3 respectively.
Table 3. CO2e calculation for E-book device Figure 3. Sensitivity analysis based on iPad usage hours per dayAs explained in previous section, E-book is superior to Paper-book by basic scenario, but it isnot by Scenario-2 and Scenario-3, namely it is inferior to Paper-book when using iPad for 45-mimnute a day or less. When iPad is used for 30-minute a day, it could be common for many users, CO2e emission ofE-book is more than triple of Paper-book. On the other hand, when iPad is used for 2.0-hour aday, it might be exactly the case for quite a few users; CO2e emission of E-book is less than halfof Paper-book. Calculation range goes beyond much more than imaginings by differentscenarios; a scenario for E-book device usage can determine environmental impact of E-book. 3. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSIONBy utilizing simplified LCA method, the fact that E-book always performs better than Paper-book can throw doubt on commonly accepted myth among environmentalists. It is obvious that key element to determine the load for E-book comes from the load of device;averaged hours of device usage should be investigated precisely to solidify the result forcomparisons in terms of environmental load. It might not be so important to work on detailed
studies of “Data management” to convert printing data to E-book and “Server operation” to storedata since serious commitment to scrutinize the loads could not influence the result. What should be done for comparison of Paper-book and E-book is that figuring out how toaverage usage hours of E-book devices to read books by extensive survey. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSI wish to express my sincere gratitude to my academic supervisor, Professor Katsuya Nagata atWaseda University Graduate School of Environment and Energy Engineering for helpfulsuggestions and valuable advices during my research. I also would like to thank Associate Professor Dr. Aran Hansuebsai at ChulalongkornUniversity for inspiring my research for years. REFERENCESHirokazu Shimizu. 2009. Establishment of quantitative assessment for Printing Service. Journal of Printing Science and Technology 46 (6): 26-35Hirokazu Shimizu, and Katsuya Nagata. 2010. Comparison of Life-cycle CO2 emissions for Paper-Based Books and Electronic Books. Journal of Printing Science and Technology 47 (2): 19-29Hirokazu Shimizu, and Katsuya Nagata. 2010. Integrated Life cycle Assessment (LCA) Approach for Printing Service by Using Environmental Load Point (ELP) Method. Journal of Printing Science and Technology 47 (3): 39-47Hirokazu Shimizu, and Katsuya Nagata, and Aran Hansuebsai. 2011. Integrated Life cycle Assessment (LCA) for Printing Service in an emerging country. Proceedings of EcoDesign 2011 International Symposium: 283-288Nihon Unisys. 2012. ICT hosting service. Available online, http://www.unisys.co.jp/services/ict/cloud- computing2.html#gict_h2-20. Accessed: August 14, 2012Apple Inc. 2012. iPad Environmental report. Apple and the environment. Available online, http://images.apple.com/environment/reports/docs/iPad_Product_Environmental_Report_March20 12.pdf. Accessed: August 14, 2012 Address: Hirokazu Shimizu, Waseda University Environmental Research Institute E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org