Paper remains the most eco-friendly solution

Paper remains the most eco-friendly solution

In the first article of this three-part series on replacing paper documentation with the new-age block chain, we discussed the much lower cost and greater convenience of the paper ledger. But apart from ease of application and cost of paper, we also pointed to the seeming inability of the print and paper industry to promote and protect its interests.

Even in the environmental race, paper is the most eco-friendly solution. Nevertheless, it’s increasingly replaced by plastics in the physical world and by a combination of devices, clouds and block chains in the digital world. The print and paper industry seem to be unable to present their case as the best green communication and packaging solutions.

The print and paper industry is not able to take advantage of the fact that plastics are choking the land with litter and landfills, or that water bodies and marine life are on the backfoot because it is not being sorted, collected or recycled. It is unable to even present a strong case for introducing paper bags, paper straws and paper bottles as eco-friendly and scalable alternatives to plastic bags, plastic straws and plastic bottles. It is not as if the more than US$ 9 billion (Rs 63,000 crore) paper industry in India or the US$ 256 billion global paper enterprise is doing badly.

Profits and stocks of Indian paper companies are buoyant after almost two decades. However, little money is put into product research and even less is invested in the environmental promotion of paper products. Thus, even while plastic is scoring self-goals due to its rather frightening and omnipotent presence across the globe, paper is not coming forward to claim its rightful place as the alternative.

Blockchain is energy intensive
The comparison with digital ledger or blockchain technology is similar. The market cap of the blockchain companies have already crossed US$ 400 billion merely on the strength of unregulated and presumptive speculation. Not only is it an unstructured technology full of risk and uncertainties, it has a huge carbon footprint compared to the paper ledger. Nobody seems to be calculating the phenomenal rise of greenhouse gasses that would occur if the digital ledgers actually replaced even one-hundredth of the physical records used for transactions.

The original blockchain runs on an algorithm that consumes humongous energy. As much electricity that can power mid-sized nations like Argentina or Netherlands or meet a tenth of the electricity consumed by a large country like India is used. Almost 80% of the energy-intensive mining of cryptocurrencies that the blockchain technology currently produces is made in China. Kilometers of server banks operate in unison here to give computational power needed for quick round-the-clock mining of currencies like Bitcoin. In China, the energy cost is low, and it’s supply abundant. Besides, computer hardware is the lowest priced and server cost is a third of what is available at other global markets.

Proof of work gives the value-add to cryptocurrencies bitcoins. In mountainous Yunan, in remote Xingjuan and in Inner Mongolia, thousands of computers supported by kilometers of server banks solve complex algorithms and race with one another to validate the next block of transaction data and thereby claim the next Bitcoin. The soaring price of Bitcoin that climbed to US$ 19,000 last December incentivized more mining and drove the best Bitcoin robot types to be built. If speculative profits remain as high as then, even more energy guzzling computational power will be pumped into the activity causing greenhouse gasses to double in less than a decade.

Michael Reed, the head of block chain technology at Intel, says that Bitcoin mining is unsustainable because it is extremely energy inefficient. But others say that making it costly and difficult to replicate keeps it away from the reach of hackers who would have to spend a fortune to duplicate. At the same time, extensive research is being conducted at MIT and Cornell University to create what is called a green blockchain without labor or energy-intensive mining that can automate all transactions using tamper-proof digital records.

However, the big question that will always rankle in the user’s mind is whether the humongous time, effort and energy worth investing to replace a product that is easy to use, cheap to produce and maintain. In the next and concluding part of our post, we will look at the maintenance and compliance cost of the block chain and compare it with the existing paper ledger it proposes to replace.

Credit Source: Einen Erfahrungsbericht zu Bitcoin UP finden Sie hier

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Indian Printer and Publisher’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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