Don’t Trash Your old CDs, Recycle Them

Don’t Trash Your old CDs, Recycle Them

Contributed by Eco Coalition and

Each year, billions of CDs (and DVDs) are manufactured, while millions of these discs are thrown in the trash. These disks end up in landfills and incinerators causing unnecessary damage to our environment, wasted energy and the loss of valuable resources. Landfills are not a viable disposal option as CDs don’t break down readily and over time can release Bisphenol A (BPA), which has been in the news frequently due to its health implications. Burning CDs releases toxic fumes into the air we breathe.

Consider this:

  • To manufacture a pound of plastic (30 CDs per pound), it requires 300 cubic feet of natural gas, 2 cups of crude oil and 24 gallons of water
  • It is estimated that it will take over 1 million years for a CD to completely decompose in a landfill
  • More than 5.5 million boxes of software go to landfills and incinerators, plus people throw away millions of music CDs each year!
  • Every month approximately 100,000 pounds of CDs become obsolete (outdated, useless, or unwanted).

CDs are made of high value recyclable material – polycarbonate plastic and aluminum. The recycling of CDs saves substantial amounts of energy and prevents significant amounts of both air and water pollution attributed to the manufacturing of these items from virgin material.

The high-quality plastic derived from recycling CDs can be used in a variety of applications, including automotive industry parts, raw materials to make plastics (Discs are ground into a gravel-like substance, which is sold to companies that melt it down and convert it to plastic), office equipment, and electrical cable insulation.

Start recycling today
There are many commercial recycling centers (see list below to get started), retailers (Best Buy) and even college campuses (UCLA) that offer recycling services free of charge. Do your research and find out what program is best for your home or business. For businesses with sensitive digital information, CDs can be shredded before turning into a recycling center.

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Did you know…

Breathing air in highly populated and polluted metropolitan cities can reduce your life expectancy by 2 to 3 years?

70% of toxic waste in U.S. landfills consists of e-waste, items such as hard drives, monitors, servers, etc?

Data centers around the world consume more energy in one year than the entire country of Sweden?

At least 36 states in the U.S. are expected to face water shortages within the next 5 years?

Over 200 million items of e-waste are thrown away every year in the U.S.?