EZ-Ds Disposable DVDs are not catching on with shoppers

While disposable DVDs were aimed at eliminating the inconvenience of returning discs and in-turn putting an end to rental fees, their sales have proved to be disappointing.  ATexas grocery chain discontinued selling EZ-Ds disposable DVDs and around 20 H-E-B grocery stores will stop selling them in the next two to three weeks.  Although many consumers are not happy with DVD disposables due to environmental issues such as ending up in a landfill after use, it is the high price of $ 7 per movie that seems to put consumers off.  Many other stores will continue selling EZ-Ds although handfuls are saying that they have not really caught on with their shoppers.


Flexplay manufactures disposable discs under the brand EZ-Ds in a vacuum sealed package.  Once opened, the chemicals used in the disc slowly react with the air causing the disc to become unplayable after around 48 hours.  After this the disc becomes useless and thus can be either thrown away or preferably recycled by mailing it to GreenDisc.  Currently, more than 30 movies are now available on EZ-Ds disposable DVDs. 

A Texas grocery chain has decided to stop selling disposable DVDs, a product that outraged environmentalists and apparently didn’t sell too well, either.

About 20 H-E-B grocery stores in the Austin area sold the EZ-Ds, vacuum-sealed movies that, once opened, play for 48 hours before a chemical reaction on the surface of the discs renders them unplayable.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment, a division of Disney, has been test marketing the product since September. More than 30 movies are now available in the disposable format, including Chicago, Freaky Friday and The Waterboy. The discs sell for about $ 7.

H-E-B stores will stop selling the EZ-Ds in the next two or three weeks, according to Susan Ghertner, environmental affairs manager for the grocery chain.

Ghertner said the decision was not made for environmental reasons; rather, company officials “made the decision strictly on sales.”

“It just wasn’t a good fit for us,” she said. “It didn’t turn out to be an item that our customers were looking for.”

A Buena Vista representative declined to comment.

Environmentalists cheered the news. “We consider this a big victory,” said Robin Schneider, executive director of the Texas Campaign for the Environment, which has protested outside stores that sell the EZ-Ds. “We are calling on other retailers to follow the lead of H-E-B.”

“There are clearly less-wasteful alternatives to marketing movies than disposable DVDs,” she said.

Flexplay, the company that manufactures the discs, has touted the product as a solution for those who find renting movies inconvenient and are sick of paying late fees. “Make it EASY on yourself,” the EZ-D website reads.

The disposable movies are currently available in three other markets around the country: Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri; Charleston, South Carolina; and Peoria and Bloomington, Illinois. Stores that sell the movies include 7-Eleven, Walgreens, Winn-Dixie, Sam Goody and Cub Foods, among others.

Last October, Wired News surveyed a handful of stores that sell the EZ-D and found that the product hadn’t really caught on with shoppers.

Buena Vista and Flexplay offer several options for those conscientious customers who want to recycle their expired EZ-Ds. Movie fans can mail old EZ-Ds to GreenDisk to be recycled, or they can drop off the useless DVDs at drop-off sites listed on the EZ-D website.

Customers also can participate in the EZ-D Incentive Program, which awards a free disposable DVD to customers who send back six expired movies.


Even if the disposable DVDs have no late rental to worry about, they are still priced many times more than the regular DVD rentals starting at $ 2.  Even with another $ 2 late rental fee, the price still works out cheaper than the EZ-Ds $ 7 pricing.  Not many consumers would be willing to pay the extra price just for the convenience of not having to return the disc. 


Finally there are online DVD rental stores such as Netflix where consumers can rent movies for as long as they like without late rental fees.  The consumer just has to return one or more before they can rent others depending on their subscription.  These services are usually flat rate based with free delivery and return envelopes and do not have the environmental issues of disposable DVDs.

Source: Wired News