AAPL Stock: 118.1 ( + 0.29 )

Printed from

iTunes helps save the environment

updated 01:25 pm EST, Wed January 31, 2007

iTunes helps environment

One of the advantages seldom considered for the iTunes Music Store is its impact on the environment, but the blogger responsible for Torants observes such concerns. In his most recent entry, the blogger observes that while a CD copy of an album might serve as ample backup, many materials go into its production including aluminum, nickel, dyes, polycarbonates, and more. Moreover, every CD requires packaging, and both parts are assembled and shipped to distributors as well as retailers. The result is a considerable waste, and why the Torants blogger has come to prefer iTunes.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs at the most recent Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco announced that over two billion songs were sold at the iTunes Store. Figuring an average of 12 tracks per album, that amounts to as many as 166 million CDs that would together stack to a height of 1,050 miles. Laid flat, 166 million CDs would cover an area equivalent to 640 acres that would amount to a substantial amount of landfill space, even when stacking and compression is taken into account. Another five million iTunes tracks are sold daily, which comes out to 416,000 CDs, or 2.6 miles.

Calculating the costs of transportation also reveals some surprising results. Assuming a single tractor trailer can carry about 605,000 CDs (80,000lbs.), Apple's iTunes Music Store has already circumvented about 275 shipping runs. Additionally, the iTunes store is saving five more shipments weekly not including secondary runs.

by MacNN Staff




  1. suhail

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Where is GreenPeace to answer to this?

  1. jarod

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Should be flushed down the toilet. Useless freaks.

  1. fds

    Joined: Dec 1969


    hard drives

    so I guess the hard drives and flash drives you store your iTunes songs on also help save the environment! the CD-Rs and DVD-Rs you backup them to likewise.

    iTunes Store, saving the Earth one song at a time!

  1. applenut1

    Joined: Dec 1969



    yet hard drive platters have simply replaced the storage medium of CDs. the music takes up the same storage space, thus requiring more disc space. and because its on a non portable medium, the files are then transferred to other mediums, such as an ipod which has an additional hard drive and the materials used in that,

  1. applenut1

    Joined: Dec 1969


    ipod 2

    and to an Apple TV which has an additional hard drive and if you want to discount all that and not use any of that and want to still have portable, well, you have to go back to burning it to a cd, which pretty much means, you've saved nothing. Stories like this are retarded. It's all about the spin. iTunes and Apple are not bad for the environment, but they also aren't saving it. Nor were they meant to, and I don't think anyone ever expected them to.

  1. suhail

    Joined: Dec 1969



    One drive stores thousands of songs. No need for backup, if my computer crashes I can re-download my audio for free or I can move them from my iPod back to my computer.

    The environment is very important, today it is even more important than ever. But Greenpeace has lost major credability in recent years, they should focus more on solutions to pollution problems than harrassments.

    Heck, they could develop and market pollution reducing equipment for the major manufacturers and have their products GP certified.

  1. Terrin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not fair

    Not really a valid point. First, when you buy a computer, the computer already has a hard drive that you use for other computing purposes in addition to storing music. In other words, your getting the hard drive because your computer needs it. Moreover, the actual storage medium in hard drives today are getting smaller. They are in fact smaller then a CD. In most cases, the whole enclosure is smaller then a walkman.

    Likewise, when you buy an iPod or Nano, the hard drives or flash drives are actually way smaller then a CD. Moreover, people used to use heavier bulkier portable Walkmans to play all their CDs. iPods, Nanos, and the like, are much smaller, so much more environmentally friendly.

    As far as backing up goes. I do not back up because I never lost data due to a hard drive malfunction on a Mac in twenty years. I suppose there always is a first time. For those people that do back up, a DVD holds over a hundred CDs.

    Accordingly, digital downloads are much friendlier to the environment.


    I do not own an iPod, so all my music is merely sitting on my computer.

  1. Gordio

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Why does greenpeace like to attack apple? Mac has refurbishing programs, they have recycling programs for old computers too (i learned this recently)

    I mean al gore who is an environmentalist loves apples. Grean peace is a joke.

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: ipod

    " ipod yet hard drive platters have simply replaced the storage medium of CDs. the music takes up the same storage space, thus requiring more disc space. and because its on a non portable medium, the files are then transferred to other mediums, such as an ipod which has an additional hard drive and the materials used in that,

    posted by applenut1 "

    I guess that means that people [let's call them consumers] are having to purchase the same exact number of hard drives as they are purchasing blank CD/DVD media_ And in turn throwing them out just as fast_

    Use your brain before you speak dude_ The time span of a hard drive typically outlasts that of a CD/DV during daily usage practices_ Long term storage NO_

    suhail has it right_ One hard drive can store exponentially more data [music] per oject than a stack of CDs the same thickness_ Plus price per capacity a hard drive is more economical_

    Also todays hard drives with 750 Gigabyte capacities are almost the same exact dimensions as the hard drives created in the 1980's that had less capacity than the size of an MP3 file_

    Your point is futile until you can show me a CD or a DVD that has a 750 Gb storage capacity and costs 20 cents to purchase_

    Also with CDs and DVDs you have to have something to read the data stored on the damn thing to begin with otherwise all you have is a $20 table coaster for your drink_

    Which guess what - a home entertainment system to play said CD with a player and a receiver and an Amp and a Sub-Woofer and surround speakers and a big hulking remote with 5,000 buttons on it to control the volume - not to mention any batteries for each remote that comes with all of these components_ ALL CONTRIBUTING TO THE LAND FILL AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT SITUATIONS_

    Now let's see - comparitively - thousands of downloaded songs stored on an iPod with a built in rechargeable battery that plugs into my car speakers or my existing home theater system or some headphones - that fit into my pocket with room to spare - HMMM !!

    I have an iPod that's 2.5 years old and the battery is still going strong - whereas I threw out some energizer long lasting E-squared double-AA's last week that didn't last 3 months_

    The other side of this coin is that if you walk into a store and purchase a CD compared to downloading music from some legit source [iTunes] the Music Industry isn't telling you that they are actually making more money from the purchase of downloaded songs than they would from a consumer buying a physical copy_

    Like the theme of this article says for a consumer to hold in his hand a CD that he bought at a store - the music industry has to makes physical copies of the master - package them with a printed booklet [in most cases] laser print graphics onto the CD and at least 3 pieces of plastic the top and bottom halves of the case and the CD tray itself_ Th

  1. applenut1

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: not fair

    yea, and your computer uses significantly more power than a standard cd player does to play the same music.

    it's all in the way you slant it.

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented