Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cutting out the CD habit

CDs are a fact of life in my world. As a Web person, I routinely get submissions of photos and other multimedia (even Word files) on a CD-ROM, particularly since my employer is paranoid about zip files.

While we can download music, watch movies online and store photos on Web sites, we just can't break the cycle of saving data, software and just plain "stuff" onto CD-ROMs.

According to Douglas Karr, who writes a marketing technology blog I read:

According the EPA’s poster, Lifecycle of a CD, 5.5 million CDs, their packaging and
millions of other music CDs are tossed each year without recycling. CDs and DVDs
are made from Aluminum, Gold, Dyes, various other materials - but most of all
Polycarbonate and Lacquer. Polycarbonate and Lacquer are generated directly from
crude oil.

The stats continue, every month 100,000 pounds of CDs and DVDs go obsolete as well. There’s no efficient means of recycling the materials either!

According to the Oil Industry itself, about 1.1 gallons of every barrel (42 gallons) of oil goes to petrochemicals.

So obviously the problem is not just the discs themselves but the habit we've caused. A few days ago I wrote about what you can do about those old CDs. But what can you do to break the cycle and keep new CDs from entering your life?
  • Research to see whether the software is available as a download instead of purchasing a copy on CD. Even better, consider using Web-hosted software such as Google Documents instead of purchasing a copy of Microsoft Word.
  • Consider "on-demand" movies or viewing them through online services.
  • Karr writes: "Switch from backing up and transporting data on CDs and DVDs to USB Drives. USB drives hold more data and are portable, faster, and don’t wear out...Buy yourself a large portable drive for backing up your work and transporting it back and forth to work."
  • And, for the diehards, Karr suggests eliminating your CD or DVD drives the next time you upgrade your computer.


Anonymous said...

Ironically, we just ordered a license from Microsoft via CDW for Office. The resulting package was a HUGE waste - a license code in a card, in a folder, in a padded envelope, in bubble wrap, packaged in a box.

Here's a picture I took!

Robbie said...

You have got to be kidding me! It's amazing how much packaging "protects" things that just don't need to be. Kids toys and computers seem to be the worst culprits.