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The environmental impacts of CD and DVD duplication and replication

What are the effects of duplicating CDs on the environment?

Reports on the state of the environment are all around us, becoming one of the main concerns of the public.  And within this there is no denying that CD and DVD duplication and replication, like every business, has its role in being able to make the environment better or worse.  However there are things that can be done to help – and you yourself can do your part!

But first, consider this:  For each CD made, one kilogram of carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere.  Now, that may not sound like much but when you throw into the equation that In the year 2000, 2.455 billion CDs were sold worldwide it makes 2,455,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide in one year, plus the 3 and a half metric tonnes of toxic waste that comes with it!  And that, scarily enough, is for just the mass CD duplication of the music industry alone.  That doesn’t count computer games, promotional DVDs, DVD films, any software sales or the blank CDs just sold in shops!

And what happens to all of these CDs once nobody wants them anymore?  That’s right, they end up in landfill.  Because of the complex nature of their make up (CD’s contain many layers of mined minerals such as aluminium, gold, silver and nickel mixed in layers with non-biodegradable petroleum-derived plastics and lacquers) they cannot be recycled in the tradition sense, either.  In fact, if they are accidentally put in plastic recycling, they have been known to ruin the recycling equipment itself!  This is because the plastic used for CDs, polycarbonate plastic (derived from BPA) is almost impossible to recycle and has been linked to human and animal health problems and polluted groundwater.

But there is an alternative to this notorious plastic:  Polylactic acid (PLA) is an entirely biodegradable plastic substitute derived from corn – not only biodegradable but sustainable, too!  Here, then, the environmental impact of mass CD duplication could be lessened greatly.

In a similar vein, jewel CD cases are also clogging up landfill sites.  These, too, could be replaced in the mass CD duplication industry with the PLA cases or could be made out of paper out of recycled paper, a practice some individual CD producers have started to do follow.  This last idea has its problems, however, as the paper and cardboard cases are simply not as durable as the plastic ones and this, more than anything else, has been keeping them off the market.

But enough about what big business could be doing:  What can you do?  Well, you could send your old CDs off to a handful of private companies who have come up with some innovative ways to recycle them.  They can, for a small processing fee, be transformed into all manner of things, ranging from street lamps and car parts to, rather ironically, new jewel cases for the CDs themselves!  A good UK disc recycling company is Polymer Recycling Ltd.  You can also choose an environmentally responsible company for your CD and DVD duplication and replication needs, for instance Duplication Centre UK or Replication Centre UK who do all they can for the environment, for instance by recycling their packaging materials they reduce the amount of their waste that goes into landfill!

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