Celebrating the people and projects of TU's Division of Administration and Finance

OTS Gets Creative—and Environmental—with Old CDs

By Pam Gorsuch

More than 1,000 CDs and DVDs sit in neat stacks on top of IT Field Support Specialist Greg Primrose’s desk in the basement of Cook Library. But he’s not a music fanatic or a movie collector—in fact, the CDs are no longer being used. Thanks to Greg’s ingenuity, they’re getting ready to be recycled.

Last spring, Greg’s department head, Director of IT Field Support Michael Bachman, announced that it was time for aspring cleaning. Due to the sheer nature of their work, the office had lots of excess materials hanging around. There were leftover cords from old printers, casings from hard drives no longer usable, and, of course, CDs. Lots of CDs.

Greg Primrose sits with the OTS CDs he's helping to recycle.

A software CD comes with every new computer purchased by TU, and additional CDs are used to install any non-standard software. There are CDs to store programs or files that may only be needed for a few months, and DVDs to hold data too large for a CD. The discs add up quickly—so much so that Greg rarely walked into a colleague’s office without seeing a few stray ones lying around. As part of the spring cleaning initiative, he set out to help his colleagues dispose of their old CDs in a way that would cut down on clutter and also serve the environment.

“I had recycled CDs and DVDs in the past,” Greg said. “When Michael brought up the spring cleaning initiative I immediately knew that’s how I could help.”

Greg’s history with CD recycling dates back to 2008, when he graduated from TU and moved back into his parent’s house in the country. There wasn’t a lot to do around town, so in between applying for jobs Greg would reorganize different areas of the house. He kept finding old CDs and DVDs that he wanted to get rid of, but he didn’t know what to do with them. Regular recycling programs don’t typically accept CDs or DVDs, and he didn’t want to just throw them out. So he started doing some internet research.

“I looked online and discovered an organization called the CD Recycling Center of America,” Greg said. “It’s located in New Hampshire, and they accept CDs/DVDs free of charge. All you have to do is pay for the shipping.”

Once received, the CD Recycling Center shreds the CDs and then grinds them into a resin which can be reformed into various types of plastic. They even accept broken or already shredded CDs which contain sensitive material and thus need to be destroyed before mailing. Greg sometimes does this with data CDs or DVDs that he sends to the center.

To date, Greg has collected more than 1,000 CDs and DVDs from his colleagues, and he plans to send them to the Center via media mail (an inexpensive shipping option) this fall. He encourages other departments interested in CD recycling to visit the Center’s website at http://cdrecyclingcenter.org/.

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