As we consider the digital camera revolution that has taken place over the last decade, most people think about it in terms of enhanced benefits for consumers. We can take a lot more pictures at much lower cost with digital cameras versus film cameras. We can also more easily manipulate and share those photos since they're all in the digital realm.
But one thing many people don't think about actually deserves mention as potentially the most profound effect of the digital camera revolution: how digital cameras greatly reduce the destructive impact on the environment compared to film cameras.
At first, you might think, "How can that be? My film camera didn't harm the environment!" Even though it wasn't your camera that harmed the environment, your film processing did indeed harm it. Any time you take your pictures to a photo processing center, that film is run through batches of chemicals. These chemicals are environmental hazards, and once they are used to process film, those chemicals must be discarded. These chemicals include both developer solutions and fixer solutions. Printed photographs cannot be recycled.
The upsurge in digital camera use is having a positive environmental impact. With digital photography, we no longer need to use all of those chemical solutions for developing photographs.