A few posts ago I mentioned our PDF invoice system for Detailed Image, one of the main benefits of which is that it brings us a step closer to being a paperless company. Every PDF I’ve opened since we began working on that has reminded me that I’m saving paper by reading it on my screen.This afternoon I had the same thought while “flipping” through a digital booklet that came with an album I recently purchased on iTunes. At first I thought “isn’t it nice that I’m saving a little paper by viewing this on my computer”. Then I thought “I buy like 5 albums a month…I’m saving quite a bit of paper”. Which of course led me to think “oh crap, how much waste is being saved each time a CD is downloaded instead of purchased?”
Let’s break this down. Each time you download a CD on iTunes (and back it up electronically as opposed to printing the album cover and burning the CD) you save:
- Paper and ink from the album cover and backing.
- Plastic for the album case.
- A CD and the ink used to print on the face.
- Shrink wrap to seal the album.
- Gas and other costs associated in transporting the CD…more than once (from manufacturer to distributor to consumer).
- Electricity and other resources consumed in manufacturing and assembly.
Like most people, I love iTunes for the convenience. Turns out it might be having a larger impact than we realize.