New infographic suggests iPads are good for the environment

Sales of tablet computers are going to be huge this holiday shopping season, with the iPad topping the wish lists of kids age 6-18. So what does it mean for the environment? According to a new infographic by Uberflip on the sustainability of tablets, 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. It's always nice when you can simultaneously enjoy your toys while feeling that you're also helping the environment. 

“All signs point to tablets being the hottest gift around this upcoming holiday season. The frenzy has already begun with Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” says Neil Bhapkar, of 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.”

But there are also causes for concern, the big one being the e-waste issue: that is, what happens to old devices when they become obsolete. The infographic says these devices are becoming obsolete and generating e-waste at a rate that's 2-3 gimes faster than any other type of waste.

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Other key points:

* It takes about 7 gallons of water to produce an average printed book, while an e-book can be created with less than 2 cups of water.

* An iPad produces an average 2.5 grams of carbon dioxide per hour. A regular 60-watt incandescent light bulb generates around 48.4 grams of carbon dioxide per hour.

* 45% of  tablet users have decreased their printing habits.

* By 2025, global e-waste will double to 25 million tons per year.


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Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.