Only a few millimeters thick, CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Ray discs are used to hold vast amounts of information. Manufacturing the amount of plastic needed to create 30 CDs requires 300 cubic feet of natural gas, 2 cups of petroleum and 24 gallons of water. In addition, the rest of the process requires other materials including:
- Lacquer (made of acrylic which is another type of plastic)
- Metals (gold, silver, and nickel)
- Dyes (also created using petroleum)
These discs are the primary method for distributing new content in movie, music, video games and other computer software. With all of this new information being produced daily, it is estimated that every month approximately 100,000 pounds of CDs become outdated, useless, or unwanted and that it will take over a million years for each one to completely decompose in a landfill (source: http://www.cdrecyclingforfree.com).
Aside from contributing to unnecessary waste, another consequence of throwing out obsolete discs is that valuable resources are lost, so before you do, consider one of these options:
- Reuse - Sometimes old discs can be resold or traded for new ones and there is always the option of donating them to schools, libraries, or other organizations. There is also the option of using them for arts and crafts. The website earth911.com has an article that highlights 10 possible ideas at: http://earth911.com/news/2012/01/12/10-reuse-ideas-for-cds-and-dvds/.
|(Architect Clémence Eliard and artist Elise Morin’s use of 65,000 AOL CDs)|
- Recycle – Although it is still a somewhat emerging technology, CDs and DVDs can be recycled to create new high quality plastic products like car parts and office equipment. A convenient place that offers to recycle your unwanted discs is Best Buy and to learn more you can visit: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Global-Promotions/Recycling-Electronics/pcmcat149900050025.c?id=pcmcat149900050025.
For additional information about recycling CDs visit the following websites: