April 03, 2009 by Steven Castle
We may not think about it when we buy a new DVD or Blu-ray Disc, but the way we get those discs is getting greener.
The Digital Entertainment Group (DEG), comprised of Disney, Warner, Sony, Paramount, and other studios and manufacturers, reports that its collaborative effort to reduce the environmental impact of DVDs has resulted in an 11 percent reduction in the carbon footprint of DVDs from 2006 to mid-2008. DVD packaging has been reduced from a carbon footprint of about 1.1 pounds in 2006 to .98 pounds in 2008. According to the DEG, the reductions represent 130,000 tons of carbon dioxide, or about the equivalent of the CO2 output from 13,000 U.S. households.
DEG says that by reducing the packaging, including the amount of wrap paper, switching from 83-gram cases to lighter 53-gram Amaray cases, and reducing O-sleeves and inserts, as well as efforts to consolidate shipments and use more earth-friendly replication processes has resulted in the reductions. Blu-ray packaging is also about 30 percent smaller than original DVD packaging, the DEG says.
According to DEG green ambassador and Walt Disney VP Larry Wilk, the trade group is not focused on the manufactured content of DVDs, which contain polycarbonate, because the group does not want to affect the playability and performance of the discs. Wilk says that some efforts to reduce the amount of polycarbonate in DVDs has resulted in discs that have more limited capacities.
Other efforts to reduce the environmental impact of DVDs include recycling waste such as acetone, which is sold to the furniture refinishing industry, and closed-loop recycling in Europe, where plastic DVD cases are ground up and used to make new cases.
Other green DVD efforts we’re likely to see going forward:
- More packaging reductions, likely in paper.
- More corn-based shrink wrap, though it is not widely available yet.
- More recycling of waste products.
- More use of alternative energies like solar and wind in the replication process.
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Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates
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