Life cycle assessment of a magazine: part 2: A comparison of print and tablet editions
2015 (English)In: Journal of Industrial Ecology, ISSN 1088-1980, E-ISSN 1530-9290, Vol. 19, no 4Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The rapid development of information and communications technology (ICT) is providing new ways to access media content. Electronic media are sometimes more advantageous from an environmental perspective than paper-based media solutions, but ICT-based media can also bring environmental burdens. This study compared the potential environmental impacts in a life cycle perspective of a print edition of a magazine and that of its electronic edition read on a tablet device. Important objectives were to identify activities giving rise to the main environmental impacts for both the print and tablet editions, determine the key factors influencing these impacts, and address data gaps and uncertainties. A detailed assessment of the tablet edition is provided in a previous article (part 1), whereas this article compares it with the print edition. The methodology used was life cycle assessment and the environmental impacts assessed included climate change, cumulative energy/exergy demand, metal depletion, photochemical oxidant formation, particulate matter formation, terrestrial acidification, freshwater eutrophication, marine eutrophication, and fossil depletion. Use of different functional units to compare the print and tablet editions of the magazine resulted in different relative environmental impacts. In addition, emerging (low number of readers and low reading time per copy) and mature (higher number of readers and higher reading time per copy) tablet editions yielded varying results. The emerging tablet edition resulted in higher potential environmental impacts per reader than the print edition, but the mature tablet edition yielded lower impacts per reader in half the impact categories assessed. This illustrates the importance of spreading the environmental impacts over a large number of readers. The electricity mix used in product system processes did not greatly affect the results of tablet/print comparisons, but overall number of readers for the tablet edition, number of readers per copy for the print edition, file size, and degree of use of the tablet device proved crucial for the comparison results.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 19, no 4
electronic media, tablet computer, print media, magazine, information and communication technology (ICT), Internet, energy use, environmental impacts, life cycle assessment (LCA).
Other Environmental Engineering
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-118834DOI: 10.1111/jiec.12229ISI: 000362594200007ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84942294108OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-118834DiVA: diva2:608707
ProjectsCESC - Media and Sustainability
QC 201511032013-02-282013-02-282015-11-03Bibliographically approved