Digital vs. Paper

More and more people start to use digital devices For their schooling and works. Especially since school had gone online, digital devices made it so much easier to work with the files from school. But some people are concerned about the potential E-waste coming from the devices. It is true that E-waste can get kinda crazy. If you are taking notes using some kind of electronic devices, at the moment it seems like you have saved some paper (probably as well as the plastics used to make pens), but in a long run, the devices are potential forms of E-waste. However, if you are taking notes using paper, it is true that the US had a pretty high paper recycling rate. But it doesn’t mean you are off the hook in terms of producing waste.

Currently there is not a standardized way to measure which way is better, it heavily depends on personal habits. So I just want to share some of the opinions on how to choose between those methods for people who want a better note-taking experience and are also concerned about the environment.

  1. Think about your budget.
    It is true that the electronic devices are on the more expensive side, and even when we look at the cost/use, they are still more expensive than paper. So if you want to save money on that, just use paper. But make sure you are properly spacing your notes so that you use the every possible bit of that paper. Also remember to put them into the recycling bin.
  2. Think about your note-taking style.
    Everyone emphasized different things when they takes notes. Are you the type of people who have to write down every word of the professor or you only draw down the main points of the lecture? Depends on how much note you take, you‘ll use a significantly different amount of paper. So if you think you’ll take a lot notes, it’s cool to get a device because if you use if long enough, device might save more recourse than using paper.
  3. If you absolutely prefer to take notes on paper…
    And you feel like using actual paper is still somewhat wasteful, you can try reusable notebooks. You can write with erasable pens and when you are done, just scan the notes, upload them to a device, wipe the notebook with a wet towel. This way you do not need to adjust to the digital writing experience and still save a lot paper.
  4. If you prefer to get an electronic device…
    Make sure that you do not have old device at home that can perform similar tasks. If you do have old devices, either use them, or take care of them properly! You can pass them to someone who might need them, bring them to local recycling centers, or trade them in for new devices. They are not to be put into the normal trash bin!
    B. If possible, you can also try to get second-hand device. It is somewhat risky, but it does also conserve the environment.
  5. If you already own an electronic device…
    Try to use it for as long as possible, keep an eye on your battery healthy, do not expose it to extreme temperature, etc.

Wenqian Li

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