Its Annoying – Recycling CDROMS

Its Annoying – Recycling CDROMS


Recycling is usually not annoying for me.  It’s something I think we all should do on a regular basis.  There are so many useful things today that can be made out of recycled and reused materials that it just doesn’t make sense to fill a landfill instead of recycling.   But I have a dilemma – while I want to recycle the pallet of used CD/DVD media that I have in my warehouse, I cannot find someone who really wants to take the material off my hands.    After searching for a minimum of six months to find a recycler for my one  pallet of used CDROMS for recycling, I am getting annoyed.  There are a few places who will, but they aren’t local, and they will charge me several hundred dollars for the privilege.  I really want to recycle, but I don’t want to have to pay to give them away.  I understand that the process to recycle this media isn’t an easy one, and not many recycling centers even want to attempt the complex process needed to break down the media back into usable products.


If you have ever tried to recycle your CD’s – you may already know they are a #7 to the plastic industry ~ the  official “other”  category of the plastic family.   Anything that doesn’t fit into categories #1-#6, get by default into #7.  CD and DVD media falls into the #7 category because they are made of a combination of aluminum, polycarbonate (PC) plastic, lacquer and many times, if printed, ink.  They are not one of the easiest plastics or products to recycle.  Many recycling centers won’t even consider taking them.  Most #7 plastics are non-recyclable and some can be downright dangerous to you.

Nalgene water bottles, some Tupperware, some baby bottles, the inner lining of soft drink cans, some clear plastic containers as well as CD/DVD media are made with something called polycarbonate (PC) plastic.  This particular plastic releases a chemical called Bisphenol A or BPA as it decomposes.  BPA is a hormone, much like estrogen, and it when it leeches into our food and water supplies can cause significant health issues.  

So I thought I’d provide some “alternative” ways to recycle them into art and avoid piling them into a landfill.   Please note:  I am not a crafty person. I do this in partial desperation to encourage people to “want to have” used CD’s so that they can freely be creative!

First, I covered the CD.  I used regular CD label stock as well as using a large white adhesive label, tracing and cutting out the circle size I would need to cover the media.  If you don’t have CD label stock, you can always use adhesive sheet paper.  Alternatives to that include using paint (always fun for kids) and/or paper glued to the CD.  If you use paper, consider construction paper, or something a little more substantial in weight because the glue won’t dry super smooth and may soak into the paper.  After I affixed the circles I had cut out – I used a one sided razor blade to “shave” around the edges.  The beauty of covering the CD is that if you wanted to let the little ones color or draw on them, you’d be able to do that now and you’d be done.

CD label

These are now ready for the next step in the process. You can trace, draw, color, or even provide stickers for your artwork.   And if you plan on hanging the artwork you could do that through the middle of the CD.  If you want to use a string, or ribbon plan ahead and do it at the same time as your adhesive label material to hold it in place! 

If you have talent in the art or craft department, you probably can make some wonderful things! Sadly, I don’t.

Additional Ideas

If  you have thousands or want to use more than just a couple CD or DVD media pieces to complete your project, this next group should give you some more challenging  ideas.  These are not recommended for children.  The CD’s when broken, cut or punched can make very sharp edges and you should never let children attempt to do any of that themselves. 

Additional Ideas

 So now can I get anyone to take about 25,000 of these?


14 thoughts on “Its Annoying – Recycling CDROMS”

  1. The kids crafts are super cute!!! We are always looking for new crafts to do here and my kids would love that!! I love your idea too! They could decorate them and make some sort of frisbee games with them. Thanks for the ideas!

  2. I was wondering what to do with the 3o-40 some in my house that need to be recycled…now my creative juices are flowing. That should stop in about 18 minutes.

    1. I pick up broken glass and miorrrs wherever I can get them. I make small decorative wooden items. Some I use for picture framing and the miorrrs I can cut into shapes such as hearts. People love this stuff. Find a local craftsman who will love to take it off your hands and avoid having to buy new material just to cut it down into 6 7 inch pieces.

  3. Have you checked with local schools or maybe daycares? They clearly make great craft ideas (thanks for those!) so maybe they can reuse them?

  4. I love your ideas!! My husband and I were just talking about our CDs the other day! Our kids would love these ideas.

    Also, you can use the container they come in; secure the “bottom” (black part) upside down under a shelf and then you can fill the container (top clear part) with whatever you need (nails, screws, legos,) and you just twist the “top” and now you have hanging containers!

  5. Unfortunately, this is true for most computer parts as well. 🙁 Hard to recycle other than by crafting. I made CD-Rom coasters once by putting felt on the bottom to stop them from sliding and filling the hole in the middle and covering the top with a sealant so that it didn’t get wet.

  6. We’ve got quite a few DVDs that are scratched up and won’t play anymore and these crafts would be great to use them for. Time to look through and put a few of the scratched up DVDs in my craft box for when the kids need something to do.

  7. Ok, so with 25,000 you could probably make a couple of the chairs you have pictured here for you deck!

      1. The People’s Resource Center in Wheaton takes computers (call first: they have some gudneliies) which they wipe clean, load with new programs, and give to people in need, but only AFTER the people take training classes in computer usage which can help them to get jobs. Great way to recycle, great way to teach a man to fish. I’ve donated, and also gotten a tax receipt.

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