The True Cost of Digital?


At J Thomson Colour Printers, we put great focus on creating premium quality print solutions for our customers in the most environmentally responsible way possible. We do so because we believe it's important to our industry, our society and our planet to optimise our manufacturing and production efforts and lead our industry into a more environmentally friendly future.


In an increasingly digital world, however, almost all of us send emails, videos, photos and music online every day. And in digitalising much of our daily interactions, many of us often have the impression the whole process is trivial, practically free and without environmental impact. According to L'Agence de l'Environnment et de la Maîtrise de i'Energie (ADEME), an agency of the French Government which promotes environmental approaches to both work and social life, this is not the case...

In a recent guide, the agency describes the environmental impacts of the growing number of digital devices (increasing energy consumption, use of primary minerals, pollution and waste production) and how to reduce them.

It is estimated in the guide that some 8.4 billion devices with online/Cloud capabilities will be sold in 2017, over 30% more than in 2016. Furthermore, this trend is set to continue with the forecast for 2020 being close to 50 billion connected devices sold in a single year!

Manufacturing these devices, however, can have far graver risks and impact to the environment that many would think. A standard desktop computer for example, requires 240kg of fossil fuels, 22kg of chemicals, 1.5 tons of water and numerous precious (gold and platinum) or rare earth (tantalum, lanthanum, neodymium, yttrium) minerals as well as environmentally dangerous elements such as lead, bromine, arsenic, chlorine, mercury and cadmium.

The guide continues by advising ways in which we can attempt to reduce some of the environmental impacts that electronic devices have. Including the importance of recycling old devices and storing data offline.

Regardless of what industry you work in, or if you prefer the feel of print in your hands or the perceived immediacy of digital; we all share the same planet and with it, share a responsibility to strive to optimise our processes and minimise our impact to on our home as much as possible.

For more information on our environmental efforts, accreditations and manufacturing processes, please check out our Quality & Environment page, contact a J Thomson Colour Printers representative, or enquire online now!

Information from this blog first appeared in PIWorld on July 27, 2017, written by Phil Riebel, President of Two Sides North America.

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