How Many CD’s Do you Own? – Change The World Wednesday


Hooking-up with Reduce Footprints for Change The World Wednesday! This week (or last week’s topic cause I’m late) was What do we do with our old CD’s.

This is pretty scary.  I myself do not have many CD’s.  Never been much of a music person myself.  But my hubby!  My gosh.

CDs and DVDs

So, what do you do with all these CD’s and DVD’s that are just hanging around?

My question is…how long does it take those CD’s and DVD’s to break down once you throw them away?  To answer that question, I went to Google on the internet machine.

I can’t find a definitive answer.  Unless the materials are made to decompose in the soil – which CD’s and DVD’s are not – they could last for centuries as recognizable objects.  A lot depends upon the environment though.

A CD-ROM uses a variety of non-renewable and non-biodegradable materials in its production process (such as aluminum, polycarbonate, petroleum dyes, etc). (Life cycle of a CD or DVD, 2003).  Due to their almost long (to indefinite) half life, they junk up landfills.  When they are incinerated, it causes the release of harmful dioxins into the air. (

Let’s take a quick look at the jewel cases and shrink wrap that binds the CD in a nice little package – and in all cases, ends up in the garbage.  These plastics are  Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC).  PVC contains additives, such as, lead – making it nearly impossible to biodegrade.  According to the EPA, in 2005, less than 1% of Jewel cases were recycled? (O’Dwyer, 2005).

DVD’s are made similarly to CD’s, however, since they are able to store more media, they actually lessen the environmental impact.  (

So, I guess that makes sense.  If you are choosing between a CD or DVD (for storage purposes anyway) a DVD is a better choice.

If everyone takes one small step – it makes a huge impact!  It’s a step in the right direction – at least.

Some other ideas:

  1. iTunes or another source of digital media.  While I am sure that the iPod, or iPhone is not great for the environment – they store a ton of media.  Just download it and no waste!  I think it is an excellent solution.
  2. Mild Disks – Sanyo released the MildDisk – an optical disk made out of corn in 2003 (   I have never heard of them.  Not sure they caught on.  I couldn’t find any recent information on them.
  3. Buy CD’s with paperboard sleeves.  Do they have those in the stores?  It’s been so long since I have been to a music store – and I don’t buy CD’s online.  I have bought a few DVD’s – that have come in paper boxes.

What ideas do you have? Do you have any unique uses for your old CD’s and DVD’s (that are more useful than leaving them on the shelf to collect dust)?  Frisbee???


About Lisa

Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm Lisa - a homeschool mom of 3 (2 boys and 1 girl). I care about the strength of the family in America, and often blog about babies/kids, natural parenting, homeschool, and marriage. Before you leave, please sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the top right). If you do, you will be well rewarded with notification of all giveaways and sales - which will not be announced on the blog. Google+ Profile


  1. What a great post! We are always trying (trying being the important word) to simplify things here, too. I put many no longer needed CD’s into our craft area and they have been re-used in fairy homes and such that would make any fairy completely thrilled – the home is nicer than mine! 🙂
    We’ve reused cases for so many things, such as small frames for photos, gift card holders which we personalize and more. Now my creative juices are flowing.
    Have a great day!
    Cool Mom/Christine M. recently posted…Picture Book Review: Officer Buckle and Gloria, 1996 Caldecott Medal WinnerMy Profile

  2. I never thought about DVDs being better than CDs but yeah, that makes total sense. Even if discs were biodegradable, they probably wouldn’t decompose. Typically it takes air and sunshine for materials to break down and landfills are anaerobic. I read a report, once, that said a banana peel was found in a 200 year-old landfill and it was in perfect condition. In my compost pile, they disappear in a month or so. We listen to music online. There are so many wonderful public stations. For music that we’d like to own, we buy it digitally and load it into an iPod that we got from Freecycle. I can’t remember the last time that I bought an actual disc. Great point, though, on the fact that things like iPods take resources to fabricate. Nothing is perfect … sometimes all we can do is minimize our impact. Thanks so much for a terrific post!
    Small Footprints recently posted…Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)My Profile

  3. I have actually been taking DVDs , CDs (with the case) , and books and using the Amazon Trade-In. They offer a small amount in Amazon gift cards (which I use for digital downloads) and pay for the postage. I know that the footprint for shipping may not be a positive one, but it beats throwing them away.
    Michelle recently posted…My 1st Corporate Management Decision {blog post}My Profile

  4. I’ve seen some very pretty mobiles made out of old CDs!
    maryanne recently posted…Take a Stand Against Bullying: Sign the Pledge!My Profile

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