Tuesday, July 8, 2008

10 Easy Ways to Be More Sustainable with Your Music Habit

Three out of four of us in our house have serious music habits, and I'm sure it won't be long before my six-year-old develops one, too. You should hear my eight-year-old hold a conversation with someone about that person's cd collection. He can get a little snooty at times.

As far as its environmental effects, music has a fairly low impact as long as you're not traveling around in a Hummer following your favorite band from city to city. But, every little bit helps and even a music habit can be greened.

Here are ten easy ways to be more sustainable, even with your music habit.

  1. Buy used. Used cd's already exist (there's your no duh statement for the week). No new materials are used in the making of them. You can buy used music in used music stores, on eBay and other Internet resellers or at yard sales. It's also much less expensive.
  2. Donate your unwanted music to charity or sell it to a used music store instead of letting it take up space in your house or worse, throw it away.
  3. Buy a lot of your music in mp3 format. Since there are no physical cd's, mp3's are very green.
  4. Take good care of your burned cd's. Sometimes I buy an album in mp3 format, but I end up burning it onto a disk so I can listen to it in my car. My husband often does the same. In the past, we haven't taken very good care of these burned cd's because they are inexpensive. We can burn a new one easily if need be, but that's wasteful. I'll take better care of them from now on.
  5. Have a cd swap. Have your friends all bring their unwanted cd's and swap the with each other. You'll all get some new music without leaving an impact.
  6. Turn off your stereo equipment completely when not in use and unplug it. When you leave stereo equipment plugged in, the parts that still light up draw energy. By unplugging it, you'll save some electricity.
  7. Don't trash your old electronic equipment. Electronic waste (E-waste) is a huge problem in landfills. Donate, give to a friend, or sell your old stereo's, speakers, mp3 players and other electronics.
  8. Purchase a solar mp3 charger if you charge your player every day.
  9. Borrow music from the library to see if you like it before you purchase it. It's not always possible to get a feel for an entire cd from the 30 second snippets you get on iTunes. By borrowing the entire cd, you can tell if you like it, and then you can purchase it if you find it's a keeper.
  10. Attend local outdoor concerts. Enjoy music in the wonderful nature you're working so hard to save. Our county freeholders sponser fantastic free concerts in the park. This summer I've seen Dar Williams and Chuck Prophet - both fabulous. Take your own trashless drinks and snacks, too, and you'll have a great green night.
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