Don’t KISS those old CDs goodbye, recycle them!

Sustainability |  2 min. read

Most of us have a skeleton or two on our music shelf.  Maybe you got rid of that Gene Simmons poster, but the KISS CD is still there, at the bottom of a pile.  Or there might be a Backstreet Boys or ‘N Sync CD lurking somewhere.  Maroon 5 or Miley Cyrus?  Now it’s true, one person’s Celine Dion is another person’s Taylor Swift – but we’ve probably all got some bit of our music history we’d rather no one ever saw.

Today, once the garage sale is over, and there’s Limp Bizkit or T-Pain or Enya still staring up at you – the only place for those CDs is the trash bin (after dark, of course).  So here is a piece of good news, for your reputation and your conscience.  Coming soon, you can part with your Captain and Tennille, your Jonas Brothers, your Jerry Vale (you youngsters will have to Google him) with dignity – by recycling your CDs.

This good news comes from the labs at IBM.  And this particular project involved finding a way to recycle and reuse polycarbonates – the main component of CDs, but also used to make DVDs (ready to give up “Snakes on a Plane”?), football helmets, cellphone cases (ok, maybe you want to try to resell that old phone) and a lot more.

The recycling part entails breaking down the old polycarbonates, physically and chemically – then reusing them to make new plastics.  (Don’t worry though, your water bottle won’t suddenly start singing, “Who Let the Dogs Out”.)

That’s good news by itself.  But there’s a bigger story.  Plastics make our modern lives better in a thousand ways – from storing our leftovers (plastic wrap) to saving us money on gas (plastic parts in our cars) to keeping us warm (plastic insulation).  So it’s good to know that when we’re done with those plastics, more and more of them can be turned right around and made into something else useful – a wise use of our natural resources (those plastics are made from petrochemicals, which come from the petroleum and natural gas that we take out of the ground), and an important step to reducing what we once just threw away.

(Ok, actually, if you’ve got THEIR CD, you might want to hang onto that.)