Welcome to Green Boot Camp

Welcome to Green Boot Camp blog, a 52-week program to help you become a greener you in 2008. This is the companion blog to The Lean Green Family (formerly Suddenly Frugal).

Monday, July 28, 2008

Week 28--Recycling DVDs and CDs

Every good green citizen knows the importance of recycling. If you're like me, you are diligently putting your plastics, paper, glass and aluminum out whenever it's recycling day. Or if you live in a state that has a bottle bill, you are religious about taking recyclable bottles back to the store so you can get your five or ten cents refunded to you.

Believe it or not, there is way more that you can recycle but that you can't put out at the curb. I've discussed this during other weeks on Green Boot Camp, such as Week 20, which talked about giving things away that you would normally throw away. And then way back during Week 3, we discussed "recycling everything else," which included motor oil and computers.

This week on Green Boot Camp we're going to focus on how to recycle some things that are actually pretty ubiquitous in most American homes. And that would be CDs and DVDs.

For starters have you ever really looked at a CD? They are kind of pretty, especially on the data side, which has all kinds of pretty rainbows and star burst patterns on it when you hold it in the light just so. That's why last Christmas I took some of my useless CDs, strung them with ribbon (recycled from somewhere else, of course), and hung them on our Christmas tree. I've also seen folks reuse CDs as drink coasters. And last spring, when my older daughter participated in an Odyssey of the Mind competition, we marveled at a team in her division that has crafted a butterfly costume out of used CDs. It was gorgeous--and food for thought for our costumes next year!

What about CDs or DVDs that are still in perfect working order but you're not interested in them anymore? Well if you have the cases for them, you could always put them up for grabs on Freecycle or Craigslist.

Might your library like them as a donation? I know that not every library can take books but with DVDs taking up much less room, perhaps they have room on their shelves for your used DVDs.

Or you could join some of the online swap sites that focus on DVDs and CDs (and books and computer games, too). The ones that come to mind are Zwaggle.com, SwapTree.com and, despite the name, Bookins.com.

Finally, if you've got CDs that you can no longer use and you can't figure out how to reuse them, then, believe it or not, you can recycle them. I just discovered The CD Recycling Center of America. Based in Salem, New Hampshire, not only does this company recycle the metal compact discs but also it will recycle the paper inserts and the jewel boxes that normally hold CDs, DVDs and software programs. This company works with everyone from individuals to schools that want to have a recycling drive, and you can get all of the details about sending them your CDs to be recycled here. Note: you will have to pay to send the CDs to the company, but at least it isn't charging you a fee to do the actual recycling, which some of the older-school CD recycling facilities once did.

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