Earth friendly CD cases

My eldest daughter stepped into my office today announcing, “here’s something you’ll find interesting!”. In her hand she held a Motley Crue CD. Ah yes, Motley Crue, definitely an interesting bunch… but what she was referring to was the CD case itself.

On the front of the CD case was a sticker stating “music that won’t cost the earth” wrapped around a recycling logo. On the inside panel – “Renewable, Recyclable, Biodgredable – this package contains recycled board and PaperFoam trays”.

What a great idea! It was just the other day I was looking at our DVD and CD collection and tsk tsk’ing at the amount of petroleum based plastic before me… then thinking of millions of others with the same sort of collection.. then getting a headache calculating the numbers, weight, emissions.. and then heading for the aspirin as what’s left of my addled brain threatened to escape from my ears.

I went and checked out the PaperFoam company – impressive stuff! They also manufacture “green” DVD trays. I’d love to be able to buy some of these in packs for storing archive CD’s.

The Utrecht University/Copernicus Institute executed a shortcut-LCA (Life cycle assessment) study to analyse the NRUE (non-renewable use of energy), REU (renewable use of energy) and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions of a PaperFoam CD case. The comparative environmental assessment studies also looked at jewel cases (standard plastic cd cases) and Digi-packs (paperboard or card stock outer binding, with plastic tray inside). In all cases the study is from cradle-to-factory gate:

• PaperFoam: 0.83 MJ / CD-case
• Jewelpack: 7.67 MJ / CD-case
• Digipack: 3.32 MJ / CD-case

• PaperFoam: 0.36 MJ / CD-case
• Jewelpack: 0.16 MJ / CD-case
• Digipack: 0.14 MJ / CD-case

GHG emissions
• PaperFoam: 0.03 kg CO2-eq / CD-case
• Jewelpack: 0.27 kg CO2-eq / CD-case
• Digipack: 0.12 kg CO2-eq / CD-case

From what I understand, the PaperFoam solution is also cost competitive with its petroleum based plastic jewel cover counterpart.

It seems it was a good move by Universal Music; the EcoPac CD has been very popular. Up until late July they had shipped some 5 million copies of their “20th Century Masters” greatest hits range repackaged in EcoPac CDs in the USA. I certainly applaud UMG’s initiative and tip my hat to PaperFoam’s green packaging solution – now let’s see this applied to every CD and DVD produced everywhere! It’s time to start writing to the record labels!