German firm DVD-D have launched ‘Einmal’, a disposable DVD format which is designed to facilitate DVD ‘rental’ from coffee shops, service stations and other such locations where movie rental was not previously possible. Retailing at around €3.99 ($6.44 /£3.20), the key feature of these discs is the fact that they are rendered unplayable 48 hours after opening, giving the customer all of the benefits of movie rental, without any of the annoyances such as returning the discs or incurring late fees.
The discs are standard DVDs with a self-destruct chemical coating applied, which reacts with the air once the disc is removed from its vacuum packaging. Once your allotted 48 hours have passed, you will be greeted with a ‘No Disc’ error on your dvd player, leaving you with two options – throw away the DVD, or gain a shiny new coaster for your coffee mug.
What seems to have been overlooked is the environmental impact of such discs. By their very nature these are discs which are designed to be thrown away at the end of their very short lifetime, undoubtedly adding to the landfill problem. The discs are designed to be recycled, but the number that are will no doubt make up a very small proportion of the total number of discs produced. The majority are clearly destined for landfill, and this is a problem. Added to that must be the cost, environmentally, of the production of these discs, and the environmental impact of the processes involved in recycling them. Even with a 100% recycle rate, we still see an environmental negative, as recycling is an energy intensive process which by its very nature creates pollutants.
This latest symbol of our over-determination to make everything disposable is a worrying one, and one which should be noted with caution. Here at How Ethical we can’t help but wonder, will they release ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ in this format?Google+