When it comes to Floppy Disks, you have a variety of recycling choices.
The first and the best way is to reuse them. Floppy disks can last a long time. Information can be written, deleted, or overwritten hundreds of times before the magnetic disk surface that retains that information wears out. They can also be reformatted to clean off all the previous data, and then re-written with new. There is so much more I could tell you about floppy disks that likely would surprise you – but alas, this article is about recycling them.
The second way is to recycle their parts. Floppy disks besides being older are significantly different than CD and DVD media. For one thing they are made up of parts which when you unassemble them can each individually be recycled. The recording part of a floppy disk is a flexible piece of iron oxide film rather than a hard plastic surface like a CD and DVD. The 3½” floppy disk has some additional steel parts over the 5¼” or 8” ones but otherwise they are similar. Individually the parts we would need to recycle would be:
- Plastic – the outer plastic shell or housing, a plastic write protect tab and a plastic wiper tab. These are all made of Polyvinyl Chloride and a recyclable #3 plastic.
- Metal – a metal shutter, the spring and the hub are all made of stainless steel.
- Paper – A set of paper rings or liners (these liners are attached to the plastic housing and are used to clean the disk as it spins). Paper, of course is recyclable.
- Magnetic Disk – A “recording” ring which is made of pliable Mylar® – a polyester film coated with iron oxide (the same materials as cassette and videotape recording surfaces). Mylar® is Polyethylene Terephthalate and recyclable as a #1 plastic.
The third way to recycle them is to use them in some crafty art projects. Earlier this year, I sold over 100 – 3.5” perfectly good floppy disks to a person who used them to make unique coasters which she then sold on Esty. In fact if you check out Esty here: Floppy Disk Crafts. you will see some unique ideas for using them.
Here are some of the idea’s I liked for craft projects.
Floppy disks stopped being produced last year and the remaining supply is limited. So reuse, recycle or re-purpose, the choice is yours.
Reply to question below – 01/15/13
Here’s what my dis-assembled floppy looked like:
7 thoughts on “Recycling Floppy Disks Shouldn’t be Annoying”
I am continuously searching online for tips that can aid me. Thank you!
I love the idea of repurposing older items, especially nostalgic ones! My kids would say “what is that?” but it would mean something to be! PLUS bonus, they come in a rainbow of colors!!
Oh my gosh, hadnt thought of floppy disks in forever!! Made me think of my first computer class in highschool in 1988. Thanks for a great post 🙂
VERY COOL! I like geeky upcycles!
Thank you for showing us the recyclable parts of a 3.5 floppy disk, but how do you disassemble them without breaking the plastic? Thanks
You can disassemble them. The way I would do it is…. first remove the slide (the silver metal piece) by bending it slightly. Then put a fingernail or other thin object into the slot and gently pull the two sides apart. You will be “snapping” it open as it is sealed together. Once you get that done, you will see the parts, or have them fall out onto the table — you can even remove the paper liners at this point if you want. I don’t think however you will be able to reassemble the disk and have it work!
See the above post for additional picture on what mine looked like when I disassembled it.
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