Isn’t singing a plastic-free activity?
Not when your teacher records your lessons on CDs. I’ve had two singing lessons so far and have been spending my free time doing funny exercises with my lips and various other parts of my personal sound system. Good thing I never get embarrassed anymore.
You might not think a singing lesson would involve much plastic, and if so, you would be living in the last decade. My teacher records each lesson onto a CD for her students to take home and use for practice. The recording is a great help. The disposable polycarbonate plastic CD, not so much. So I asked if there were some other way to save the lesson… on a Flash Drive perhaps? Turns out, she has another machine that records onto SD cards. I have an SD card in my camera. Perfect! Each week, I can download the recording from the card into my computer and reuse the same card each time. This method could potentially save many, many CDs, depending on how long I keep up the lessons.
Think Before You Burn
This little incident got me thinking about all the other useless disks I have in my house. Like, why did I feel the need to burn the entire 2007 season of American Idol onto DVDs? DVDs that I will never, ever watch again. This morning, I posted an ad on Freecycle for them. I’m not holding my breath for takers. Any of you interested?
Unless someone picks up these DVDs from me, they’re going in my plastic tally. Yes, they are recyclable through various disk recycling programs, which I’ll list below. But all of the programs shred the disks and ship them to China to be downcycled into car parts, which is better than the landfill certainly, but does nothing to curb the need for virgin plastic to make new disks.
Disk Recycling Programs
Here are a few of the disk recycling programs I’ve found:
1) GreenDisk charges $6.95 to process up to 20 lbs of “TechnoTrash” if you use your own box and pay for your own shipping. They also provide collection boxes for larger amounts of techno waste and charge more for these services, which include shipping.
2) CD Recycling Center of America provides a free service (You provide box and pay for shipping). This organization was founded by the owner of Superdups, a disc duplicating service, that is now encouraging all members of the CD/DVD industry to take responsibility for the waste they create.
3) Back Thru the Future also offers free CD/DVD recycling. (You pay shipping and provide box.)
And of course, many DIYers have come up with alternative uses for unwanted discs. Green Living Tips offers one such list, as well as places to recycle discs outside the U.S. But once again, none of these solutions does anything to stem the flood of new discs each year, discs which are made from polycarbonate plastic.
So, before you burn that new disc, ask yourself if there is another option. Is what you’re burning now going to be useful to anyone next year or even in a few months? Is there some other way to share the information without getting a new disc involved?