Microsoft ground up old CDs to make its new Xbox controller

The Remix Special Edition controller also includes a rechargeable battery pack to cut down on disposable batteries.


Microsoft announced a new sustainable Xbox controller today. Arriving as an Earth Day promotion, the Xbox Remix Special Edition wireless controller uses recycled materials from old gamepads, auto headlight covers and reclaimed CDs (among other sources) to give each accessory a unique look. Although it offers no special functionality, it allows gamers to vote with their wallets for environmentally friendly manufacturing.

One-third of each gamepad is made from post-consumer recycled resins and regrind materials. Microsoft says the resins are sourced from materials like “automotive headlight covers, plastic water jugs and CDs.” Meanwhile, the regrind comes from leftover Xbox One controller parts recycled into new material. The company says the regrind maintains the durability and performance you’d expect.

Microsoft describes the combination of recycled resins with regrind as creating “custom, earth-tone colors with subtle variations, swirling, markings, and texturing — giving each Remix Special Edition controller its own look and feel.” Unfortunately, the company’s marketing images don’t appear to reveal much of that, but you can expect each one to look at least slightly different from the rest. It also has “a topographic texture pattern” on its bumpers, triggers and side grip areas, which Microsoft describes as a “nod to the Earth’s dynamic landscape.” Finally, the green hues on its front case, D-pad and Xbox button were inspired by lichen, a composite organism found in the Pacific Northwest.

It wouldn’t make sense to buy an environmentally sound controller only to stuff it with disposable AA batteries that end up in landfills. So Microsoft bundles an Xbox Rechargeable Battery Pack with each special-edition gamepad. The accessory costs $25 on its own.

It’s easy to grow cynical about mega-corporations virtue-signaling around Earth Day products that most people won’t buy while their broader product portfolio falls short in environmental friendliness. But hey, it’s still something. Further, Microsoft does point us to its Xbox sustainability efforts — including goals of being carbon-negative, water-positive and zero-waste by 2030 and improving its consoles’ Energy Saver sleep mode.

The Xbox Remix Special Edition controller costs $85, the same price you’d pay for a $60 standard Xbox wireless gamepad with a rechargeable battery pack. It’s available for pre-order today before launching on April 18th, four days before Earth Day.

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