Five Key Reasons E-learning Is a Green Option

An online college degree program is a convenient, flexible option for most people. But many of them aren’t aware that e-learning benefits the environment.


Most people are familiar with most of the benefits of pursuing an online college degree program, such as convenience and flexibility. However, it’s less well-known that e-learning also has measurable eco-friendly benefits. Here’s how online learning fits into a green lifestyle.

#1 Online Learners Use Less Gas.

According to data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey, Americans use an average of 600 gallons of gas a year, at a household cost of about $2,600. Saving gas by taking online college classes instead of commuting to campus not only helps protect the household budget, it also limits use of a nonrenewable natural resource.


#2 Carbon Dioxide Emissions Are Reduced.

Research conducted by the Stockholm Environmental Institute showed that college students who take advantage of e-learning through an online college degree program produce 90 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than a student who attends traditional classes in person and travels to do so.

This is because e-learners do not need to commute to a campus, keeping more cars off the road.


#3 E-Learning Uses Fewer Natural Resources.

In addition to limiting the gas used for car commutes, e-learning uses substantially fewer natural resources than learning that takes place in a classroom setting. These savings are primarily due to the power and energy used to heat or cool a classroom. However, e-learning also reduces the need for plastic, metal, wood, building materials, and other nonrenewable resources.


#4 It Helps Save Trees.

Online learning saves paper by providing digital curriculum, assignments, textbooks, and other materials. According to the National Wildlife Foundation, paper represents more than 60 percent of the waste produced by educational institutions. Every ton of wasted paper translates into the death of 16 large trees. In addition, paper manufacturing is the third largest drain on fossil fuels among all industries.


#5 Less Printer Ink Is Used.

When assignments for an online college degree program are turned in digitally, it protects the environment by reducing the waste caused by the production and disposal of printer ink cartridges. Each year, more than 350,000 of these cartridges are added to landfills, and it’s estimated that they’ll take up to 1,000 years to fully decompose.

While participating in an online degree program has many benefits for students, including the flexible schedule and the ability to take classes from anywhere, it’s environmental impact should not be ignored. Students can reduce their carbon footprints with online learning.


To learn more about Linfield’s online learning opportunities, check out our programs page or contact the Office of Admission at 503-883-2213.