Dematerialization = more options
- 04 November 2008
How do we measure dematerialization? What is, for example, the overall impact of post vs. email?
We would evaluate the energy impacts based on the previous service minus what a new service can save plus the impact of the new service.
But what about the rebound effects? When we can communicate more easily, don't we do more printing of emails, or travel more to visit new clients we may never have found?
In spite of the possible rebound effects, dematerialization solutions should be encouraged because they give us options. If we decided we (as a society) wanted to significantly curb travel, it would be possible because we have other communications options like email or telephone.
For example, one UK company, ViaPost, is offering an alternative to sending letters in the UK which is cheaper and, according to their website, has 80% less impact.