How To Recycle CDs & DVDs

Compact Disc

Image Credit: Rene Cerney

Have you got old CDs, CD-ROMs and DVDs hanging around that you no longer want.? Maybe you have replaced many of your CDs and DVDs with Blu-ray disks or digital downloads.

What can you do with your unwanted disks?

CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays in Good Condition

If they are in good condition they should ideally be passed on to someone else who can use them.

  1. Give them to friends or family or swap them rather than buying something new to replace them.
  2. Give them away on FreecycleFreegle and ReUseIt recycling groups.
  3. You could sell them on eBay, on, at a car boot sale or advertise them in your local paper.
  4. There are lots of websites where you can turn your old and unwanted CDs, DVDs and Games into cash in one free and simple process. You can get anything from 25 pence up to £3. You can check your items potential value on the website and you can even donate the procedes to a number of well know charities. Some of the best-known are Music Magpie, Zapper and Ziffit
  5. Give them to your local charity shop or to a jumble sale in aid of a local organisation. Be aware that many charity shops will only sell CDs that are in visually perfect condition.

What About Those Freebie Disks from the Newspaper?

Now you may be asking, what about the free CDs and DVDs that you find in newspapers and magazines? Check before you donate these to a charity shop; many won't sell them, and at best they will be distributed to the shop staff and volunteers. Otherwise they just go in the bin and off to landfill anyway.

Damaged Disks

If you have free CDs and DVDs or damaged disks what else can you do with them apart from using them as coasters?

Can CDs, DVDs , CD-ROMs and Blu-rays be Recycled?

Both the disks and the plastic jewel cases from disks are 100% recycleable.

Unfortunately however, at present we do not know of anywhere will accept disks for recycling from the general public, and I'm afraid the current advice is that domestic quantities of old disks will not be recycled by most local council household recycling centres, and should be put into your household waste for disposal.

Find Local Recycling Information

Green Ant Recycling will accept old CDs and DVDs for recycling, however they are focused on industrial quantities of materials. If the CDs and DVDs are still in their cases they need a minimum of around 3 tonnes to make collections viable without having to charge you.

So here's the maths .. a CD in it's case weighs around 100g. 3 tonnes is approximately 3000kg, so you would need to have a minimum of 30,000 CDs to make collection viable for the company. That is quite a CD collection to dispose of.

You Could Get Creative

Of course you may have some ideas on how to reuse them yourself. Gardeners often hang them up in their vegetable patches because the light reflections frighten off birds. They could also make an interesting mobile for a baby's room.

Here are some magnificently artistic and creative ways to reuse unwanted CDs.

And you could, of course, use them to decorate a suit. The record 'Pop Muzic' by 'M', originally released in 1979 was remixed in 1989 and when lead singer Robin Scott appeared on Top Of The Pops he wore a suit completely covered in CDs. Check out the video below. Must have weighed a ton

How To Recycle CDs and DVDs

About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of Reduce Reuse Recycle.

Last updated 17th January 2017

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