Virtually Green Music

The sustainable approach to your music

Is your music green?

VirtualGreenCDBrowsing the record store for your favorite new CDs might be fun, but direct music downloading is a lot faster and sustainable. Why? Before downloads, you drove in your gas guzzler to the local music store, and then purchased CDs in those hard plastic cases which are definitely not sustainable. But all this can be avoided with digital downloads.

Oldies but Goodies

Recycling and reusing CDs is the responsible thing to do, but millions end up in landfills. This is partly due to people not knowing what to do with their old Britney Spears album and partly due to the complicated nature of recycling discs. Thankfully, there are more eco-friendly alternatives.

CDs can be recycled for use in new products such as auto parts and office equipment. However, because they are made from many different materials such as aluminum, nickel, glass, and even gold, many recycling centers will not accept them as they are difficult to break down. Fortunately, the Recycling Center of America accepts old CDs from individuals, companies, schools and libraries. All you need to do is send your CDs to their recycling center and they’ll do the rest. Also, you can use SCGH’s recycling database to find a center near you that accepts CDs and records.

Reuse as Decoration
There are many simple ways to transform your old albums and vinyls into objects d’arte such as coasters, chandeliers, wind chimes, vinyl record wall decorations, even bird feeders. Search online for step-by-step instructions on how to turn your plain albums and vinyls into extraordinary pieces.

Some people collect “vintage” CDs and vinyls as a hobby. Your old music can be other peoples’ treasures. Have a garage sale or donate your old music to thrift stores, vintage music stores, and even schools.

Whatever alternative way you choose to go, remember, throwing them away in a garbage can is never the way to go.

Benefits of digital music

…to your health
Music, in general, relaxes the mind and the soul.

…to your wallet
Music downloads often costs less than an actual album because of the lack of all that paper and plastic. Plus, no trip to the music store required.

…to the earth
A CD itself is comprised of several layers of plastic and metal which harm the environment before and after it is made. Throughout a lifetime, a person can accumulate tens to even hundreds of them, all of which will sit in a landfill for years, whereas a music download might only take up a couple of minutes, perhaps, even seconds of energy on your computer.

Common Mistake
Any form of music piracy, be it illegal downloads, sharing files or making copies, can cost you thousands of dollars in fines or up to five years in prison.

Learn More



15 Ways to Save a Buck and a Watt

Sierra Club Recycling Center


  1. Nicky October 12, 2009
  2. Maryland October 23, 2009
  3. Marissa F November 6, 2009
  4. hana February 4, 2010
  5. Keith Hoover July 6, 2010

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