Recycled CDs

Jai is looking into environmentally friendly options for CD pressing.

I looked into this for the Glance EP too. It is a fair bit more expensive. Jai mentioned that it’s not fair to pass the extra cost onto the consumer. Fact is, the consumer generally won’t pay more. They rock up to a gig – they expect a $10 EP etc. They don’t really make the connection between the $12.50 CD and the fact it’s environmentally friendly. But that’s not the problem – the problem is you have to wear the extra cost for 500+ CDs, even if you only sell 100.

As much as I hate to admit it, I don’t think that we ended up using recycled stock for the EP – but I honestly can’t recall.

There are two other major issues with CDs too (issues that have environmentally-friendly solutions that is) – the plastic cases and printing. It is much better to go with vegetable-based inks (typically soy-based). I have been in touch with ecoDesign-ecoPrint, but they couldn’t do the CD covers at the time – I can’t remember exactly why. I did get some business cards done through them and they were top notch – I highly recommend them for general printing requirements.

On the CD cases front, hemp-plastic CD cases are available. Alternatively you can get recycled paper digipaks – but they are wildly expensive and there is still a plastic component to them (unless you do a custom pack design). I spoke to Mad CDs about some of these options and they were quite helpful. But again, in the end, it proved too expensive for us.

Ultimately all the options I looked at at the time were too expensive, as an independent band with limited funds, for us to pursue. We’d already spent a couple of grand on recording and producing the EP, adding a significant amount to the cost of pressing just wasn’t an option in our circumstance. Hopefully Jai has better luck.

  • wow1 I had no idea that there were such options out there….once again cost is an issue for most bands, but as they are used more, perhaps costs will come down? It would be great to se more bands who have money behind them get into this stuff…..John Butler springs to mind….who knows perhaps he already does and I didnt notice?


    spiral girl

  • I actually think he does – he has a digipak that I think was recycled stock – I remember the guy at Mad CDs talking about it. I think it’s a 50% recycled stock though. Worth checking out…

  • Thanks Grant.

    I have looked into the recycled option before with a previous CD release and had found it to be too expensive at the time also.

    I also use MAD cd’s and am currently awaiting quotes for recycled options.

    I guess no matter which way a CD is manufactured it isnt going to be environmentally friendly.

    The closest I can see is to have it on the web for free download with full quality pdf versions of the artwork also available.

    The problem with this is that it is near impossible to market and get airplay without a professionally presented package. Also musicians seem to not be taken as serious about their music until they have a “CD” to sell. Why is that?

    It does however mean that there is much lower production expenses for a band/artist to recoup as the production costs are passed on to the actual consumer who can choose how to use the music and how to manufacture it. If they just want to have the mp3 file in iTunes and on their iPod they can, and maybe have the pdf files for artwork to refer to if they want.

    Others may choose to print it out on a basic printer, and others still may decide they really want to make it as “professional” as they can. It does however mean that each person gets to make that choice rather than how it currently is where we as artists (or labels) presume that they all want the “total professional” packaging and as such only provide it in that way.

    I really don’t know what to do in regards to this. I am having serious second thoughts about releasing it at all, other than on the net as it is now. I can easily put up full versions on our website of pdf artwork.

  • Yep, I just checked the JBT live double CD “living” and it says on the back 100% recycled paper….

    how strange of me never to notice that!

    Now all he needs to do is get his shirts made somewhere other than China and he’ll be all set…….

    love spiral girl

  • In regards to clothes, wouldnt second hand clothes be the ultimate recycled items, even better than No Sweat clothing, not one cent has gone to a corporate Co. ALthough I guess fossil fuels are still used to transport and run the electricity in the store you buy the clothes from.

  • One other point that Grant made “……the problem is you have to wear the extra cost for 500+ CDs, even if you only sell 100” is very relevent also.

    As a artist with little to no profile in the industry, Project Lo-Fi would be pushing it to move 50 discs methinks, we dont really play gigs other than a handful of acoustic shows at cafes that have only a handful of people at them to see us. We also dont have a band to do the traditional style pub gigs, fact is the music is not really suited to a full band line up, when we do jam with a drummer, it seems very hard to keep the vibe of the songs, they change quite alot from what has been recorded.

    So if we try to sell CD’s at gigs, people are buying based on the band they just saw play. So when they get home and listen to the disc it is going to be vastly different. Gigs are the most likely way to sell CD’s as an unknown independent artist, and based on the above it may be misleading to sell at gigs. I think the sound we achieved on the album is very interesteing, but its hard to recreate live, we can either do acoustic stuff, or indie sounding band stuff, but neither of these really come anywhere close to capturing the sound of the CD.

    This is also a possible deciding factor in not getting the discs pressed.

    Having said that Sean and I set at out the start to create such a sound. We never really intended to have a band and our initial goal was to make music that was available free of charge on the web to interested parties.

    It is mostly my fault that once this goal was acheived I started then to look into more traditional methods of distribution. In other words I started to conform to what the industry expects from a band. That was never our goal as a musical “Project”. Even our name came from the fact we were not following the trodden path.

    Having to press 500, to sell only say 50, is not cost effective nor environmentally friendly. Those surplus CD’s will eventually end up as landfil someday and that is not a good thing at all. Having used raw materials from the environment simply to turn into landfil a year or two later. Thats very bad.

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