According the EPA, 5.5 million CDs, their packaging and millions of other music CDs are tossed each year without recycling. CDs and DVDs are made from Aluminum, Gold, Dyes, various other materials – but most of all Polycarbonate and Lacquer. Polycarbonate and Lacquer are generated directly from crude oil.
The stats continue, every month 100,000 pounds of CDs and DVDs go obsolete as well. There's no efficient means of recycling the materials either! According to the Oil Industry itself, about 1.1 gallons of every barrel (42 gallons) of oil goes to petrochemicals.
I suppose it goes without saying, then, that switching to cloud computing with virtualized servers and subscribing to Software as a Service applications can actually help the environment. I'm not sure what percentage of a barrel of oil goes into creating of compact discs, but surely we can be a lot more efficient by using USB drives and networks for file sharing instead of burning discs.
In addition to using the discs, I can't help but think that there's a lot of energy being unnecessarily used to manufacture and transport those discs. Surely swapping bandwidth for plastic will net a positive result for humanity, right? I realize there are many other things that play a larger role, but why doesn't anyone talk about this unnecessary industry?
I wonder why using Software as a Service isn't a key component of Going Green advise to businesses? Terabyte hard drives, USB drives, Online Backups… all of these are readily accessible for anyone to use. No one should be buying CDs and DVDs anymore. I don't even rent movies anymore on DVD, I rent them on my AppleTV!
5 Ideas to Curb You of Your CD Addiction
- Switch to Software as a Service. Examples: Dump Microsoft Office for Google Apps and Microsoft CRM for Salesforce. No installations, no backups, no hardware… just a browser!
- Switch from renting DVDs and buying music CDs to downloading your Music purchases or Movie Rentals with iTunes, AppleTV and other premium services. iTunes may have to rethink their logo!
- Switch from backing up and transporting data on CDs and DVDs to USB Drives. USB drives hold more data and are portable, faster, and don't wear out. (Be careful though, not all USB drives are created equal!)Buy yourself a large portable drive for backing up your work and transporting it back and forth to work. I don't go anywhere without my Western Digital Passport, it's the best investment I've ever made!
- Transfer large files to other companies through online SaaS vendors like DropSend, YouSendIt, SendThisFile, MailBigFile, and SendSpace.
- Get rid of your CD and DVD drives. When you order your next laptop, don't include one with the purchase. When you order them for your office, save some money and purchase USB drives instead of upgrading your DVD writer. By not having them accessible, you'll be less likely to go and burn that next CD!
In fact, the only reason why I use CDs anymore is for books on CD or to burn music for my drive to and from work. I've been watching prices, though, and I can get a replacement car stereo that has a USB input as well as iPod controls for less than $200! Maybe it's time for me to make the move!