(Recycle Now is a UK website – United States readers can find out more about acting in an environmentally-friendly manner at Earth 911)
Recently, there have been a few posts on this site that aim to encourage reuse and recycling within our industry. It’s not that I’m going “green” – I’ve actually been interested in sustainability for a while now (and I recommend reading A Good Life – the guide to ethical living, by Leon Hickman). It’s not even about climate change – maybe mankind is warming up the planet with possible catastrophic consequences but maybe it’s just nature. One thing it’s almost impossible to argue with is that the world’s resources are finite and my personal belief is that we all have a duty to use those resources in the best way possible (well, ideally not to use them at all… but you get my drift).
Oh sure, I’m no saint (my family uses two cars and my kids use disposable nappies for starters) but there are things that we can all do and, whilst I don’t know the situation for any overseas visitors to this blog, here in the UK, the Government does little except pay lip service to environmental issues (and don’t get me started on wind “farms”).
Anyway, as part of my ongoing clearout of “stuff” from my loft/garage/office, I was about to throw away something in the region of 300 CD/DVDs (not music ones, just old software betas and demos, Microsoft TechNet CDs, etc.) and thought “these must be recyclable”. Well, it turns out they are (the United States Environmental Protection Agency has also produced a poster which demonstrates the life of a CD or DVD, from initial materials acquisition, through to reuse, recycling or disposal) and, even though my local authority only recycles the most basic of items, I found out about The Laundry (and it seems that they will accept CDs, DVDs, CD-Rs, VHS and compact cassettes for recycling from anyone, including the jewel cases and inlays).
The Laundry is an excellent idea, because for as much as consumers control the amount of landfill waste that we produce, our hands are largely tied by local authorities that don’t recycle all items that it is possible to recycle (for example, mine won’t accept certain types of plastics, aerosols, Tetra Paks, etc. for recycling – even though the links I just provided prove that they can be recycled), meaning that consumers have to find another outlet for this type of waste (and most won’t bother). Businesses have an even bigger problem as many local authorities won’t accept anything but landfill waste from them, so they end up throwing away recyclable items (and paying for the privilege). By providing a weekly kerbside collection service for small businesses in London, The Laundry has the potential to really make a difference – I’d love to see them expand nationwide.
The next time I’m in East London, I’ll be dropping off my old CDs and DVDs at The Laundry. As for the packaging, there’s an amusing discussion on what to do with the plastic spindles that blank CD-Rs are sold on at the How can I recycle this? site.