Before we moved last spring, I did a thorough inventory of all our possessions to determine what we didn’t need anymore. Among the clutter was a rather large assortment of useless CDs. Perhaps you have a similar collection: mix CDs from your pre-iPod days, out of date software, music you no longer care for, and even promotional CDs from AOL and the like. Throwing all those CDs in the trash felt weird, so I decided to do some research. Turns out you can recycle CDs! And not only can you recycle them, but you really should recycle them.
Why You Should Recycle CDs
According to the CD Recycling Center of America, CDs contain a number of recyclable materials, including polycarbonate, aluminum, lacquer and gold. When properly recycled, these materials can be reutilized to make new items. Recycling saves mining virgin materials as well as reducing the use of natural resources—like water, natural gas, and oil—that are needed to process those virgin materials.
Can Your CDs Be Reused Instead of Recycled?
Reusing items is always more eco-friendly than recycling, so do consider whether your CDs have any use left in them before deciding to recycle. Your local library, for instance, may take CD donations. I’ve also found that Freecycle is a great option for giving away things you don’t need or want anymore. (Read how I use Freecycle to learn more.)
If you’re artsy, there are also many craft ideas that utilize old CDs.
How to Recycle CDs
You have a few options for recycling your CDs. Organizations like the CD Recycling Center of America and Back Thru the Future Technology Disposal accept CD donations through the mail. You pay the shipping costs but there is no fee for the recycling services. (Since CDs qualify for media mail shipping, your shipping costs should be reasonable.) Depending on where you live, you may also be able to find other, more local donation centers.
Some recycling services will also recycle old jewel cases . Be sure to check before including jewel cases in your shipment or donation.
My Experience Recycling CDs
After learning that you should recycle CDs, I boxed up all of our unwanted CDs and jewel cases and took them to the post office to mail them to the CD Recycling Center of America. The process was pretty quick and painless and I don’t think I spent more than a few dollars on shipping. It felt great to get some clutter out of our apartment—and I felt extra good knowing that I was saving a few useful items from the landfill.
Now I just need to avoid accumulating unwanted CDs in the future. Unfortunately that’s not always up to me…but at least I know what to do with them if they do show up. 🙂
Did you know that you should recycle CDs? What have you done with your old CDs?
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