A week ago Apple has unveiled the iPad 2, which brings some slight improvements over the original iPad. The original iPad has only been out for less than a year and many environmentalists are questioning such a short life span. On one side there is an iPad 2 that improves environmental and social impacts by using less material in production. On the other side there is the outdated iPad, when replaced, will be thrown into landfills. The question is “which is more sustainable?”

The iPad 2 is going to be 33% thinner and 15% lighter than the original iPad. This reduces the overall carbon footprint of original iPad by astonishing 58%. The battery is free of arsenic, BFRs, mercury and PVC, meaning it goes above and beyond Energy Star requirements. The original iPad is still one of the top greenest computers out there, but with the release of iPad 2, it may become most polluting product.

The main reason it’s going to be so pollutant is because there are 15 million original iPads out there and not everybody is going to recycle them. Even if they do, the original iPad cannot be fully recycled and all of the non-recycled parts are going to be piled up in the landfills.

Here are some interesting questions that arise.

1. Is Apple going to launch iPad 3 in eight to eleven months?

2. Are customers going to buy the new and slightly improved iPad again?

This debate has been controversial since the iPad 2 announcement and will be until Apple introduces better recycling methods.