7 - 2010

Wednesday on Waste – DVD & CD Cases

photo by Andres Rueda

This week, a reader wrote in with this question:

Do you have any idea what I can do with all my old DVD/Blu Ray cases?  I recently transferred all my many movies into a series of leather bound binders and I’d hate to throw the cases in the trash but I’m not in love with them cluttering my table.

I did some research and came up with numerous ideas for what to do with unwanted plastic DVD cases, as well as the smaller square CD jewel cases. Here are the best of them.

Make something with them

If you just have a few CD or DVD cases, ideas abound for what to do with them.

  1. This CD case artwork is really great. You dice up a big photo and print it on 5×7 photo paper, then insert in CD cases and hang.
  2. This site suggests another way to use CD cases to hang up photos, a CD-case chandelier, a birdhouse made from jewel cases, and a mini-greenhouse made from CD cases. (Some sites recommend gluing the cases together with a silicone glue, or using zip ties to connect them.)
  3. The UK site “How Can I Recycle This?” has a page on DVD cases. Scroll through the comments for a few good suggestions, such as using them as scrapbooking mini albums, using them to make small shelves for spices or crafts, or using them to store unmounted rubber stamps (another one for the stampers and scrapbookers among us). One comment says a colleague used a DVD case to frame a “Where is Joe?” graphic for his office door with a dial that can point to his location when he’s away.

Give them a second life

It would be understandable if you do not have a need for hundreds of photo frames or rubber-stamp boxes. In that case, consider sending them along to someone who could use them. There are people out there who want to move their DVDs from binders to cases, or who record CDs and need boxes, or who receive DVDs by mail and want a protective case.

  1. List the cases for sale for a small price on Craigslist, an auction site, or offer them to a local music or video store to purchase.
  2. List the cases on your local Freecycle or similar “giveaway” site.
  3. Donate them to charity and take the small tax write-off.
  4. If you are fortunate and live in an area with something like Oakland’s East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, turn them over to be developed into someone else’s project.

Recycle them

You can’t throw these cases into your local recycling bin (well, not in most places, anyway). But you can still recycle them.

  1. Visit Earth911.org to find a location near you.
  2. If you can’t find a location near you, you can ship the cases to be recycled. Ecocycle has a great directory, and several sites on this list accept CD jewel boxes and/or DVD/Blu-ray boxes, such as Greendisk, the CD Recycling Center of America, or CD Recycling Central. Read the requirements carefully — some might require that you pay shipping, or have minimum or maximum amounts.

If you are going to the trouble of sending a box of cases in to be recycled, ask around before you ship. You might have friends or family who have a dusty bag of cases cluttering up their basement. Save resources by shipping the cases together — offer to do the dirty work in exchange for a buck or two for postage.

Do you have other ideas? If so, please share them here.

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