Adventures in Greening: What Do I Do With My DVDs?


By Catherine Moran

I don’t know what to do with my old DVDs. Well, I guess they’re not old, but they’re underloved and underappreciated. In this new regime of Digital Technology, I would very much like to be able to trade in my physical DVDs for digital copies of the same film, but that does not seem to be an option anywhere that I can find. It’s not as if I have very many DVDs; on the contrary, I don’t have very many, but I have a lot of boxed tv series, and those babies take up space. I’ve been slowly distributing my DVD collection over the past year, but there are some shows and films that I want to hang on to.


The closest service for turning physical DVDs into digital copies that I have found in my searches is VUDU, which was only available at Walmart when it was launched in 2012. However, the downside of VUDU, for me, is that it is a program. That, and the fact that you have to pay for the service of converting the films. I want to have my purchased movies and television shows available on storage devices, and not accessible only through a program–and you must have VUDU on any device you wish to watch your films on. That sounds like it’s restricting access to something I already own, so I’m not ready to go this route just yet.

Amazon has a trade-in option, but it’s only for certain titles, and they give you a pittance for the product, an amount that does not equal the cost of purchasing a digital copy of your film. You can’t give me $2 for my Harry Potter films when the digital copy is $10! I won’t be magicking my copies into digital any time soon, thank you very much.


Another sell-back site I found is Zumu, but if I thought the rates at Amazon were abysmal, Zumu is even worse. I am not selling back my DVDs to make money, but I would like to be able to afford to re-buy the DVD that I am selling (I own it for a reason!) Zumu is interesting, in that: “Here at Zumu we don’t just recycle your pre-loved DVDs, CDs and Games by finding a new home for them, we also turn what can’t be re-homed into baby bottles and other useful stuff! “ So, if I do find a way to get digital copies of movies I already own as physical copies, Zumu might be the best place to go to make sure my DVDs are properly recycled.

The search will continue. I am trying to de-clutter my life of Stuff, which I believe is in line with green living: these DVDs could be recycled, or given new life with new owners. If you have any suggestions for legal ways of making my DVDs into digital copies, I’d appreciate it. I have a feeling this is something other greenies would want to do (especially if they live in New York apartments!) Thank you in advance for any help!

Stay well, greenies.



Adventures in Greening is a column running on every other Monday at noon. It is written by the very eco-conscious Catherine Moran. Follow Catherine on Twitter here, or check out her excellent book blog.

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2 thoughts on “Adventures in Greening: What Do I Do With My DVDs?

  1. Andy in SLC says:

    Funny you should mention it. I embarked on the endeavor beginning this morning. Daunting at first, the process is fairly simple (if frustratingly repetitive). Depending on your OS and media file structure, there is free software that is more than adequate to the task (See DVDFab). If you maintain media for business, AnyDVD might be worth the investment. On a laptop or netbook, outsourcing or grabbing an external usb DVD is probably more wise. I wouldn’t want to subject my sleek new hardware to temps of unrelenting dvd ripping. Of course, your time might be better spent doing other things than media-digitizing.. Try a walk or bike ride ;)

  2. Zumu is no longer in business. They came and vanished in a flash. Many players are dropping out of the used media game. As far a suggestion for selling your used dvds, please allow me to indulge in a little self promotion, consider We’ve been buying back dvds online since 2003 and and plan to stick around a long time.

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