Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Eco-Friendy CDs

Two years ago Cloud Wamino started with just a steam roller, 20 cows, and a dream. Now, he’s head of the thriving all-natural CD manufacturing business “No-Beef Patties.”

“It’s simple, really,” Cloud said from his Seattle, Washington, headquarters. “I was walking through my uncle’s field one day when I noticed this cow patty about the size and shape of a CD. And I got to thinking: why can’t we make all-natural CDs out of this stuff? It’s free and abundant, and it’ll keep the cows working after they stop giving milk to keep them from getting butchered. So I bought a steam roller and got started.”

The process, which Cloud asked not to be divulged for patent reasons, involves taking “fresh patties” and compressing them under heat to become plastic-like discs capable of traditional CD and DVD uses. The cost per disc? Just a few cents, slightly more than those produced out of environmentally damaging plastic.

“I’m not gonna lie to you, there can be a smell issue,” Cloud says. “But sometimes saving the planet is dirty work.”

It’s dangerous work, too. His first factory, an old barn on the back of his uncle’s property, exploded after methane was released from his first batch of CDs. But Cloud was philosophical about the setback.

“You gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet. Although I’m vegan, so I never eat eggs anyway, except at Burning Man. But we’ve got the methane problem solved so it stays in the CDs, unless they’re heated above eighty degrees.”

So far sales have been brisk, mostly from an internet rumor that smoking the discs led to hallucinogenic trances. But those rumors were inflated, Cloud says. “One time a couple of cows got into my personal field, and those discs were special. But for general release it’s not true, unless a cow gets into a mushroom patch or something. I don’t discourage the rumor, though, because sales are sales, you know?”

Cloud hopes that the fashion catches on and people take to using his No-Beef Patties permanently, although he does admit there may be limitations. “I’d hate to think what things might get like in an enclosed space, like a house or an airplane. It’s best just to use them outside.”