Waste collection: how to dispose and recycle CDs and DVDs

Where do I throw CDs and DVDs when I don't need them anymore or when they are damaged? Find out in our section in collaboration with SmartRicicla

© Mati Mango on Pexels

Even old CDs and DVDs need to be disposed of when they become damaged, when they are no longer needed or become demagnetized and can no longer be read. Recycling CDs and DVDs is not as trivial and obvious as it might seem because it is not easy to identify the right container for separate waste collection. Before dispersing them in the environment, let’s ask ourselves if it is possible to reuse them creatively to create other objects.

The difficulty of disposing of CDs and DVDs is given by their particular composition: 90% of polycarbonate and the remaining 10% of aluminum, paints, dyes and material to create adhesive labels. The difficulty of recycling these objects lies not so much in the materials themselves – polycarbonate is a highly recyclable material – but in the scarcity of suitable plants for their recovery and treatment.

The consortia deputies find it difficult to apply European regulations for the recycling of these materials and unfortunately are unable to dispose of and reuse them to make new products. Disposal, therefore, is only possible by throwing the supports in the undifferentiated dry waste bin, and then sending them to the landfill.

If the CDs and DVDs we need to get rid of contain sensitive data that could harm our or someone else’s right to privacy, you can remove the metal film on the top of the disc. In this way, all data overwritten on the digital media is removed and can no longer be recovered.

The alternative to the dustbin is creative recycling. There are many ways to turn old CDs and DVDs into new, beautiful, useful and above all shiny objects.

Alternatively, if the discs contain music or movies and are still functional, you can extend their life simply by giving them to a friend or some association, or by selling them to some thrift shop that will be happy to accept them. Furthermore, you can sell them on some digital platform with interesting revenues, especially if they are unpublished or collectible pieces.