How to properly dispose of compact discs? (7 reuses)

This article will explain the right ways to dispose of old CDs. Other aspects that will be targeted include:

  • How to properly dispose of CDs?
  • Can CDs be thrown in regular trash cans?
  • What materials are CDs made of?
  • Are CDs biodegradable?
  • How to reuse CDs?
  • How to repurpose CDs?
  • How to recycle CDs?
  • Can CDs be put in recycle bins?
  • FAQs

How to properly dispose of compact discs?

CDs can be properly discarded by transporting them to recycling centres or mailing them. This should be done when you are certain that CDs can not be reused. 

There are a number of ways in which CDs can be reused or repurposed and this is far better than simply throwing them away. That is because CDs are made of non-biodegradable materials that may cause health and environmental issues in landfills. Also, burning old CDs is also not recommended. 

Although CDs are recyclable, it is advised to not discard them in recycle bins because not all recycling centres can recycle CDs. Therefore, homework and vigilance from the consumers’ end can solve this. 

Can compact discs be placed in regular trash cans?

No, it is not advisable to discard compact discs (CDs) in regular trash cans. This is asserted because by doing so, you will put the environment and life at great risk. 

CDs are made of non-biodegradable and toxic materials such as plastics and metals. When CDs are discarded in trash cans, they are most likely to end up in landfills. 

There they can cause a number of complications. It is estimated that CDs may require about a million years to fully degrade which is next to impossible or infinite. 

Further, the constituents of CDs may seep into the ground and cause soil pollution and degradation. Ultimately, human life will also be affected. 

Therefore, it is better to not be ignorant about the matter because it is exactly the opposite of what sustainability is. There are other options available that you can avail to get rid of your old CDs. These include reusing, repurposing, and recycling. We will get into these details very soon. 

What materials are CDs made of?

To better understand the environmental impact of CDs, let us explore the materials that CDs are made of. This will give us an idea as to why it is not advised to discard CDs in regular trash cans. 

CDs are made of mostly non-biodegradable materials. These materials include: 

  • Polycarbonate 
  • Metal 
  • Acrylic plastic

As can be seen that plastic is the major component used in CDs. Let us dig into what is the reality of plastics. 

Plastics are synthetic polymers that are made from repeating monomers bound by chemical bonds. The main materials that are used to make plastics are derived from fossil fuels. 

This is degradative to the environment because the use of fossil fuels not only means the consumption of non-renewable sources but also the introduction of many harmful gases and fumes into the atmosphere. 

These gases include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, NOx, SOx, and methane. These are termed greenhouse gases responsible for a number of environmental anomalies such as global warming, deforestation, climate change, pollution et cetera. 

The role of plastics is not only limited to the planet but also is reciprocated to people as well. The following are the health impacts that are generally caused by plastics:

  • Cancer
  • Lungs dysfunction
  • Nephrological issues
  • Developmental issues
  • Blood abnormalities
  • Hormone disruption
  • Neurological issues

In light of these effects, it is plausible to not only assume but also assert that it is unwise to simply discard old CDs as there may be many of the said complications. To avoid this, it is better to go for sustainable alternatives that will be explored shortly. 

Are CDs biodegradable?

Let us also talk about the biodegradability of CDs. The parameter, if something is biodegradable or not, can tell a lot about it. The main reason is that when something is biodegradable, it will contribute much less to the waste problem that we are facing. 

As it has been covered that CDs are made from plastics, which is a synthetic polymer; it is plausible to assume that CDs are not biodegradable. 

It is even claimed that CDs may require more than a million years to biodegrade under natural settings which are practically never. 

Therefore, if you dispose of CDs recklessly, chances are it will remain there almost forever and you don’t want that since the current waste generation (at 2 billion tons annually) is already giving a tough time to the waste management systems. 

If CDs are not properly disposed of, not only the waste management systems will be more likely to collapse, but there will also be degradative effects on life, health, and the environment. Some of these effects were covered in the previous sections. 

If CDs can not be discarded, how to get away with them?

You may be wondering if okay if CDs can not be discarded in regular trash cans. So, what should I do to get away with them since I cannot keep them forever? 

Yes, you are not needed to keep your CDs with you forever because as a matter of fact, the usage of CDs has declined a lot. Global trends are rapidly changing towards online platforms such as Spotify, YouTube or Soundcloud. 

With these burgeoning trends, it does not make sense to use CDs since CDs are rather obsolete. CDs are not only bad for the environment but also bad for the pocket as well. 

Therefore, let us explore some ways to get away with your old CDs: 

Donate your old CDs

It is possible to donate your old CDs because the use of CDs is not as obsolete as you think it is. This is also backed up by research. 

As per studies, the number of CDs sold in the US alone was more than 47 million. These figures are assertive enough that there are many old-school people that would love to have the CD that you are planning to throw away. 

All you need to do is to reach out to the right people with the right approach so that your CD may be reused in a good way and with almost no environmental impact, carbon footprint, and definitely no waste. 

Reuse CDs in creative ways (7 reuses)

The use of CDs should not be limited or adhered to by the media. If you think that your CD is of no use, you can still use it in a number of creative ways that will not only tap your creative capacities but will also help in restoring the environment. 

Therefore, let us explore some of the ways to reuse CDs in creative and innovative ways: 

  • Using CDs for drawing circles
  • Using CDs as coasters
  • Using CDs to make creative and artistic bowls 
  • Using CDs for arts and crafts
  • Using CDs to increase an aesthetic sense of your living room 
  • Using CDs as holiday ornaments 
  • Using CDs as spinning tops

Owing to the shiny and reflective nature of CDs, there are many creative ways in which CDs can be reused and repurposed. It will also benefit you since you would also not need to buy any new material. 

Often it is argued that CDs are safe to reuse. The answer is yes. As long as the chemistry of CDs remains intact, there will be no degradative effects on the environment and people. 

The problem starts when CDs are either thrown away recklessly or burned. Burning CDs is also not a good idea since it can pollute the environment and cause medical complications. 

Recycling old CDs

If you think that your CDs cannot be reused or repurposed in any way, then fret not, there is still one option available. And that is the recycling of old CDs. 

Recycling is defined as the reusing of any product after changes and modifications to it. Recycling is much better than production from scratch because there is less strain on the raw materials.

Also, there is a decreased use of energy because the CDs will not have to be made from scratch. This will result in benefits to both the economy and the environment. 

The major source of energy in most of the production facilities is non-renewable resources which mostly rely on the burning of fossil fuels. When more energy is used, there is an increased burning of fossil fuels to meet the demand. 

This releases harmful gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, et cetera into the atmosphere. These gases are called greenhouse gases that result in environmental anomalies such as global warming, the greenhouse effect, change in weather patterns, deforestation, loss of life et cetera. 

Recycling is a way to ensure that these effects are reduced and mitigated. However, recycling CDs is not as simple as recycling paper or cardboard. 

The main reason behind it is that the recycling of CDs first requires disassembling all the parts and components. This takes time as well as energy. Therefore, it is possible to have an LCA (life-cycle analysis) of CD recycling to optimise the process as much as possible. 

Can CDs be put in recycle bins?

It is often perceived that since CDs can be recycled, it is okay to put them in recycle bins. However, this is not something you should do. 

The main reason behind this is that although CDs can be recycled, not all facilities accept CD recycling. Therefore, if you put CDs in a recycling bin where it can not be recycled, there can be negative implications. 

Therefore, it is important that you are aware if your recycling centre does recycle old CDs or not. If not, then it is probably wise to refrain from throwing CDs in recycling bins and preferring to transport them to recycling centres that accept old CDs. 

Also, there are a number of local and international organisations that you can check. An example can be GreenDisk. You can mail your CDs to such platforms to make sure that your old CDs are recycled and do not cause any health or environment-related concerns. 

Conclusion

It is concluded that CDs can be properly discarded by transporting them to recycling centres or mailing them. This should be done when you are certain that CDs can not be reused. 

There are a number of ways in which CDs can be reused or repurposed and this is far better than simply throwing them away. That is because CDs are made of non-biodegradable materials that may cause health and environmental issues in landfills. Also, burning old CDs is also not recommended. 

Although CDs are recyclable, it is advised to not discard them in recycle bins because not all recycling centres can recycle CDs. Therefore, homework and vigilance from the consumers’ end can solve this. 

Frequently Asked Questions: How to properly dispose of compact discs?

What type of waste is CD waste?

CDs come in the category of electronic waste which is made from harmful and non-biodegradable materials such as plastics or metals.

What type of plastic is polycarbonate?

PC is the seventh category of plastics (termed new plastic) and is also the major component of CDs. 

References

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Leave a Comment