Jay Gabler, writing at The Current:
[A]ccording to a new study from European researchers. Today’s recording industry might not put as much trash in landfills, but streaming music has actually increased greenhouse gas emissions. It turns out that it takes way more energy to store and stream music than it took to manufacture and distribute hard copies…which may seem crazy, but think about how often you have to recharge your phone.
That’s not to say the old days were all that great for the environment either. Vinyl production peaked in 1977, using 58 million kilograms of plastic. CD production peaked 23 years later, in 2000, and that required 61 million kilograms of plastic. All that plastic production, though, resulted in only about half as much greenhouse gas emission as streaming causes today.