Green Initiatives: CD DVD Recycling Best Practices
Hannah Gray, AMR Project Associate
When I started working at AMR, I realized that both AMR and our clients are very aware of their corporate social responsibility. We recycle all our products and try to separate reusable materials from the trash. One item that we came across was a large box of old CDs. I knew they didn’t belong in the garbage, which made me think, what is the best way to recycle CD’s? My first thought was, “of course, the recycling bins we have in the office.” However, I wasn’t 100% sure so I did some research, and what I found was much different than what I had thought.
According to the CD Recycling Center of America, every month approximately 100,000 pounds of CDs become obsolete and end up in landfills. You may be thinking to yourself, “how do they end up in landfills if I put them in my recycle bin?”
Well, CD’s (and DVDs) are referred to as plastic #7 (I didn’t know there were different categories either,) which means they contain different materials. These materials include aluminum, polycarbonate, dyes, lacquer, and a few others, and that’s just the disc. There’s also the plastic in the CD case, the paper for the information insert, and the plastic shrink wrap that comes with brand new CD’s. With all of these materials included, the curbside recycling companies can’t recycle CD’s and DVD’s properly so where do they end up? Landfills.
Throughout my research, I realized the best solution was to send the box to the CD Recycling Center of America located in Salem, New Hampshire. Here, they recycle every part of the disc, the case, and the paper products for free. Their process includes separating all of the components to yield a new, clean, ready-to-remanufacture plastic polycarbonate resin. This product is found in eyewear, medical devices, protective gear, greenhouses, and more. So, in other words, it’s good to have this stuff around.
A main problem that the CD Recycling Center of America faces is that most people look for the cheapest and easiest route to dispose of their CD’s. They usually realize that it will cost more to ship their discs to the center and, to some people, that sounds like a lot of effort (lame, I know.) It comes down to the basic face-off between cost and time versus the environment, and who usually wins? Cost and time.
Here at AMR, we believe that the environment deserves a win. One of our client-partners, NASCIO, sent the first batch of CD’s/DVD’s to the CD Recycling Center of America for just a small shipping fee. And we plan on sending more. AMR is constantly trying to decrease our carbon footprint. In addition to our recycling processes, we also give preference to hotels with green initiatives when looking at contracts. And, many of our client conference have gone paperless. So, the next time you want to just toss something in the trash or even at your at-home/company recycling bin, do a quick internet search. You may realize a more effective and environmentally-friendly way to dispose of it!