CD storage cases or CD jewel cases are the recommended way of storing your CDs or DVDs in order to prevent deterioration. If you choose CDs or DVDs as the format to which your digital information or digital scrapbooking project is saved onto, then it is important to ensure that the media are properly stored after being recorded.
The ISO standard for the storage of CDs and DVDs recommends the jewel case as the storage container of choice over other options such as paper sleeves, plastic sleeves, and the various other types of albums and containers that are available. However, there are various different types of jewel cases to choose from. The most appropriate one is the standard jewel case which is 1 cm thick and contains a holding tray. The holding tray allows the disc to be supported at the hub and locks the CD or DVD in place so that it does not move around in the case. Movement of the disc inside the case can lead to breakage or scratching of the disc. The tray configuration also prevents the disc surfaces from coming in contact with the CD storage case or CD jewel case surfaces. Contact between the case and the disc will lead to physical damage such as scratching.
Storage Case Plastic Composition
Most CD jewel cases are made of polystyrene. Unfortunately, polystyrene is brittle and can shatter and damage the disc inside. For applications when the case is not being handled often and just being stored away in a cabinet or on a shelf, the normal polystyrene jewel case is fine. In scenarios where the case is handled often, the recommendation is to use a one piece polypropylene case. This type of case has all the same features of a standard jewel case except the material is more durable and better suited to the rigors caused by repeated handling.
The trays that come with standard CD storage cases are often different colors such as white, black, clear, and sometimes other colors. The most common trays nowadays are black and clear. White was used often at first but to a much lesser extent now. No significant amount of testing has been performed on which is best or safest for the CDs or DVDs. If there is concern about the reactivity of the tray then the one piece polypropylene case is the most chemically inert and should be used for the long term storage of CDs and DVDs.
Thin Jewel Cases
DVD or CD jewel cases are also available in thinner versions. The most common thickness for the slim jewel case is 0.5 cm or half the thickness of the standard storage case. This case also contains a hub that locks the CD or DVD in place and many people prefer these slim cases because they take up half the shelf space of a standard case. However, for the slim jewel cases, the disc surfaces are much too close to the case and contact between the two often occur leading to disc damage. This is the principal reason why the slim cases are not recommended for the long term storage of CDs and DVDs.
Printed Material in the Storage Case
Any printed material should not be stored in the CD storage case with the disc. This is generally okay for read-only audio CDs or read-only DVD movie discs, but not okay for recordable or erasable CD and DVD media. Any labeling should be on the outside of the case only. The CD jewel cases should be stored vertically on a shelf or vertically in a cabinet. Stacking of cases is not recommended.