Ask LH: Can I Recycle My Old CDs?

Ask LH: Can I Recycle My Old CDs?

Hey Lifehacker, I have hundreds if not thousands of old CDs and DVDs. Some of them have important data on them and some are just random and miscellaneous. I would like to dispose of them in as green a fashion as possible. Is there anyone that recycles discs or does something with them? Or is my only choice to chuck them in the bin? Thanks, Digital Dumper

CDs picture from Shutterstock

Dear DD

While most recycling and e-waste plants concentrate on computer components, many will also accept CDs, DVDs and cases. They will usually remove the metallic coating from the disc allowing the plastic to be recycled. Some services will even recycle the paper leaflets inside CD cases. Some examples include Planet Green Recycling, ShredFast , CD-ROM Services and Gram Destruction.

Just be mindful that many of the companies that operate in this space are aimed at business clients and expect a fee for their services. Others will recycle your discs free of charge although you may be required to deliver them yourself, either in person or through the mail.

Some city councils in Australia have introduced their own CD and DVD recycling programs so contact your local representatives and find out if they provide this service. (As an added bonus, this will save you from driving out to a factory or wasting money at the post office.)

Alternatively, you could try hacking your old CDs into new products and DIY solutions for the house. In the past, we’ve looked at how CDs you be used to build practically anything, including standing desks, dumbbells, bird-repellents, dirty dish indicators, driveway reflectos and disco balls.

We also quite like this fetching lamp idea courtesy of hackaday:

See also: The Definitive Guide To Ditching Your Discs

If any readers would like to add any CD recycling services or DIY hacks of their own, let DD know in the comments section below.


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  • What about recycling old cassette tapes and VHS tapes? Seems to be a lot of plastic on them too. Thanks

  • Coolest geeky recycled CD effort I’ve ever seen was the vest made out of win95 beta CD’s (they came out weekly or fortnightly, so longtime testers could collect many of them). One of the beta testers wore it to the Windows 95 product launch in Redmond. Holes were drilled at the 4 compass points of each CD, and then wire was used to attach the CD’s to one another.

  • You can hang the CDs from fruit trees to scare birds away. It prevents them from eating the crop.

  • We recently had an office clear out and used a recycling company called “Recycling CDs, DVDs and another type of disc or case, servicing both businesses and personal customers”

    If you have obsolete, unwanted, damaged CDs, DVDs and end of life products, we have a solution that won’t cost the earth. Literally its free in some cases!. It’s a sustainable alternative to landfill and incineration. With our chemical free service, 99% of components are recycled. Nothing is incinerated and virtually nothing goes to landfill.

    Very good service would recommend! cluttered the office responsibly! :money:

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