Factsheets > CD's

Re-using And Recycling CD’s/DVD’s:
Before sending away CD’s for recycling you should think whether they can be re-used or if other people may value them.
CD’s which are still intact and do not contain confidential information (such as music CD’s) should be given to charity shops such as help the aged and cancer research. Here they can find a new lease of life and will generate money to help the charity.

If CD’s contain confidential information, you should scratch them or otherwise make the disk unreadable before sending them to be recycled. This protects the information and means the disk cannot be sold on the black market.



How CD’s Are Recycled:
Step 1:
Once the CD’s are collected they are sent to a decollation centre where the CD’s are separated from the case and inserts etc are separated out.

The CD’s are then physically damaged meaning they cannot be sold on the black market.

Step 2:
Any paper waste is baled and pulped so it can be made in to other paper products.

Step 3:
The plastic case is cleaned, granulated and then fed in to an extrusion system fitted with lasers, to spot and remove and contaminants.

This produces a crystal polystyrene pellet, which can be used for the manufacture of new CD cases, artificial wood, packaging and insulating foam.

Step 4:
Via a chemical free method any valuable materials within the CD such as aluminium, gold and other metals are extracted for further refinement, and eventually re-use.

Step 5:
Other materials within the CD such as plastic and refined in to pellets for re-use in products such as street lighting lenses, drinks bottles and new CD cases.

Or if the materials prove to hard to separate they are used as insulation for buildings.



Clever Re-use Ideas:

Solar Concentrators:

In rural Mexico CD’s reflective properties have been used to make solar concentrators to boost the output of solar panels and solar furnaces.

Craft Projects:
CD’s can be used as replacement for many everyday items and can make interesting decorations such as: Coasters, disco balls, Christmas tree decorations, clock faces and in the garden they can be used to scare birds away from your vegetables.

CD scratches can often be repaired by using a mild abrasive (such as toothpaste) on them.

Minimising CD And DVD Build Up:

  • Use re-writeable CD’s and DVD’s so once you are finished with that data the disk can be used again for another purpose
  • Download music and films instead of buying them on disk
  • Complain to companies that send you advertising on CD’s or DVD’s
  • Ask local video and game stores to implement CD/DVD drop off schemes
  • Write data to a external hard drive or usb stick which can store new data once the old has been deleted
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