Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Musically, I'm Not Being Environmentally Friendly



I have an mp3 player somewhere. Richard bought it for me a few years ago although I’m not sure whether it was a Christmas present, birthday present or something he’d bought to keep me entertained during a spell in hospital. Either way, I didn’t use it as much as I first thought I would and right now I haven’t a clue where it is.

I just couldn’t get on with it. There was something about having music stored in a tiny gadget that just didn’t feel right to me. I like to be able to look at the designs of CD covers, read the blurbs that are sometimes in the fold-out paper bit that goes in the plastic case and check the play list. I also like the designs on the actual CDs and the fact that I have something real in my hands.

I know that mp3s are better for the environment - less plastic production blah blah, but try as I might, I just can’t like them let alone love them. In fact, I positively loathe them. I’ve downloaded a few to my laptop but I’ve very rarely listened to them, except for those that I burned onto a CD and have in the car, which is kind of evading the point.

Did you know that a CD actually contains gold? Only a tiny trace but the main problem is the amount of aluminium, polycarbonate (made from crude oil) and acrylic lacquer - yet another form of plastic - that they contain. Then there are the chemical dyes used in the printing. None of this is doing our planet any good whatsoever and yet here I am, still clutching to my CDs instead of embracing mp3s.

Then there’s the packaging. More plastic!

CDs were designed to be virtually unbreakable so you can imagine how long they’re going to be around, either at the landfill or wherever else people decide to chuck ‘em. Hundreds, if not thousands of years! And considering

When you consider that several billion music CDs are sold every year, it’s anybody’s guess how many of them are going to end up as waste. And that’s without thinking about all the DVDs, computer games and CDs used to store photos and stuff on. Piled up, I bet they’d make quite a mountain.

Knowing what to do with used CDs and the likes isn’t easy because general recycling centres don’t take them, at least not as separate waste. Of course, it’s always better to donate them to a charity shop, sell them on eBay, give them to friends, put them on Freecycle or sell them at a care boot sale but what if they’d beyond use?

Luckily there’s a company called The Laundry that recycles them. All you have to do is post them off to them and they’ll strip out the aluminium and polycarbonates for use in the manufacturing of other, new components. I shall save my ‘beyond use’ CDs and DVDs up for them in the future - they’re not exactly heavy after all so postage shouldn’t really be a reason to dump them instead.

But will I ever be converted to mp3s? Time will tell…

Sharon J

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15 comments:

apieceofwood said...

Hi Sharon,

I've traded the last few of mine at the weekend at the car boot, but great to know for future reference that there is a place you can get the recycled!

Sharon J said...

You got rid of your CDs? Boy, you're brave! I've had to get rid of them once before (when I moved countries) and that was bad enough... I really don't think I could part with them again. I love music too much and mp3s... well, you already know how I feel about those.

Lu said...

I have an Ipod, which I love, yet I still but cds and have a rather large collection. I have embraced the new technology without letting go of the old, but I don't know how to get rid of my cds (for all the reasons you mentioned!)/

Frugal Trenches said...

What a superb post! I have no IPOD/ MP3 yet, waiting until I've got my emergency fund full, but I too struggle with the idea of non-tangible music! lol LUDITTE I am :)

Sharon J said...

Lu. Maybe I'm just an old stick in the mud, eh? I have a few CDs that I never listen to so once I get round to decluttering the CD racks I'll be sending those to the charity shop but the old CDs that have been used on computers and are now outdated will be sent off to The Laundry (strange name, isn't it?)

FT. I'm sure you're not really a Luddite, just being sensible :)

Move To Portugal said...

Great post-I had a blog post saved just on this...lol

I had a massive CD clearout a couple of weeks ago, keeping only 20. All the others either went to charity, the car boot or The Laundry, after agonising what to do with them.

-Charity shops like the good condition empty cases as they can use them to replace broken ones.
-
I was horrified by the amount of paper and plastic all the cd's generated. I'm never buying one again, even though I love music!

websmithjr said...

I've been having a conversation with Ali Syme who is the head of research at SbInternational in Scotland. They own SbBioPlastics and he has a blog http://sbbioplastics.wordpress.com/

His company is http://www.sb-bioplastics.com/ and they are working on compostable plastics.

He has some interesting things about recycling in the UK on there.

Plastic is a hard foe to tackle seeing as how it's the 3rd largest industry in the U.S. at $380 billion per year, 1 million employees and a trade surplus of over $10 billion. It uses 840,000 barrels of oil per day. We also import another $370 billion so it all adds up to one pretty huge pile of non-biodegradable trash.

Geeze. It's like the Pooka came and took us on a ride in the middle of the night and we woke up not knowing how we got there.

Lu said...

Sharon J -

Most def not a stick in the mud. Despite my love of the Ipod shuffle, it simply cannot replace having a cd case in my hand and flipping through the art work.

The Laundry does sound awesome, and yes, the name is just a bit strange

Sharon J said...

MoveToPortugal. You'll still post yours, won't you? It's always interesting to read several people's take on things.

My girls had a stall in the village we lived in just before we left Norway and sold all of the CDs and videos (this was before DVDs). Over the 11 years that have passed since, a couple hundred of them have been 'collected' again and I really don't think I could part with them and even though, like you, I don't like the amount of plastic and paper that's used, I just know I'll still buy more. Maybe it really is time to start thinking about an iPod.

Websmith. I'll take a look at that link. I'm always interested in anything that's related to UK recycling.

Lu. The artwork is definitely one of the things I'd miss.

Sharon J said...

MoveToPortugal. You'll still post yours, won't you? It's always interesting to read several people's take on things.

My girls had a stall in the village we lived in just before we left Norway and sold all of the CDs and videos (this was before DVDs). Over the 11 years that have passed since, a couple hundred of them have been 'collected' again and I really don't think I could part with them and even though, like you, I don't like the amount of plastic and paper that's used, I just know I'll still buy more. Maybe it really is time to start thinking about an iPod.

Websmith. I'll take a look at that link. I'm always interested in anything that's related to UK recycling.

Lu. The artwork is definitely one of the things I'd miss.

Laura said...

hi sharon -
I'm like you, don't like ipod's etc, i think its the earphones! anyway there is a solution, my kids have a speaker thing that it can sit on -thats a solution for the home

Sharon J said...

I've seen those docking stations, Laura. Sigh... I suppose it's time to start thinking about moving on. I won't be buying an iPod until I've paid off my debt though.

Laura said...

docking station - thats the words i was looking for..lol
I won't be buying one either :(

Pat said...

I was bought an ipod for my birthday a couple of years ago but never use it. It was a waste of money but I didnt ask for it and can't really sell it because my sister will eventually ask where it is.

I wonder how many of the old vinyl records are still hanging around on rubbish dumps.

Sharon J said...

I had a few unwanted gifts hanging around too but decided to get rid of them during my decluttering process (which isn't finished yet). If anybody asks, I'll just have to be up front with them and say that I didn't use it so thought it would be better to pass it on to somebody who would. It isn't easy, though.

As for vinyl records, I'd imagine a whole lot of them are still on the dumps. Millions of them. Billions, even.