I’m not a big movie buff, but I do have a decent size DVD collection, and I add new DVDs to my collection fairly regularly. One of the banes of my DVD collection is DVDs that come in ECO-BoxTM DVD cases.
What is an ECO-BoxTM case? Well, ECO-BoxTM cases are DVD cases that are designed to use less plastic in order to be more environmentally friendly.
I’m actually all on board with this idea. There’s nothing wrong with being environmentally friendly. However, the point of being environmentally friendly is to take an existing product and make it less wasteful. For example, making a car that uses an alternative fuel source or gets twice as many miles per gallon as other cars. The car performs the exact same function – transportation – but in a less wasteful manner.
Now the main function of a DVD case is to protect the DVD inside. Take a look at these pictures and see if you can guess why the ECO-BoxTM designs are horrible for protecting a DVD:
If you said “because there’s a bunch of freaking holes in the DVD box”, congratulations! You’re right! And the holes are perfectly placed to allow the disc to get scratched. Three-fourths of the DVD is protected by nothing but the box art and a paper-thin layer of plastic. This put the DVD in risk of being scratched without even leaving its case, and it also tends to tear up the box art. My copy of Watchmen ended up with torn artwork before it had even been watched twice.
A couple claims from their website:
“Substantially reduce the mass of plastic by strategically removing material from non-functional inconspicuous areas”
The areas that had the plastic removed are not “non-functional.” They are incredibly important for protecting the disc. (In fact, no plastic was removed from above or below the disc, so all the plastic that was removed was important.)
“Box quality and functionality will not be affected”
“Consumers will only notice an environmentally friendly difference after removing the DVD and the booklet from the package”
This is patently false. When you pick up one of these cases, it is immediately obvious. The DVD case is incredibly flimsy and will bend inwards with barely any pressure. And again, the “functionality” of a DVD case is to protect the DVD. If your product increases the risk of a scratched up disc, the functionality is effected.
Now, there actually is an ECO-BoxTM case design that I’m willing to tolerate. They have some DVD boxes which have thinner plastic but no holes. They still suffer from being flimsy and bending inward, but not nearly to the extent of the “scratch-me-please” holes of the other designs.
My advice for anyone who buys a DVD and finds an ECO-BoxTM case: buy an empty DVD case and recycle the ECO-BoxTM case.