What To Do...with Old CDs?


Sharing in chains of emails--both philosophical and practical--is one of the privileges of being a member of the TreeHugger team. A recent example started with a question from a TreeHugger Tipster:

"I have a bunch of old CDs I need to throw away. They're internet promos, old PC reinstall discs, etc.: nothing that I can sell at a CD recycle shop. I've searched the internet and your site but haven't come up with anything. Any ideas?"

(Dennis: Being humble, we left out the part about "Thanks and I love the site." But thanks, and we love our readers.)Petz stepped up to the challenge, noting that Smile Plastics are Plastic Fantastic, worth a reminder since this company was last mentioned here over a year ago and is a company that could recycle a lot of CDs if demand permits. The translucent sparkling plastic shown in the image above results from Smile Plastic's process. Of course, one of the main issues with recycling raises its head here: a reliable supply of "raw materials" means major waste sources, in this case impounded illicit CDs, are preferable to the donations of smale-scale waste generators like the TreeHugger Tipster.

A more small-fry eco-friendly idea can be found in the example of Terra's "No Oil" campaign (Spanish website, but the picture says it all). "No Oil" uses an old CD as the support for a bicycle bumper sticker, reminding the drivers, fuming (pun intended) in the bicyclist's wake, that it may be slower but bikes have advantages.

The Worldwise folks reckon you can craft CDs into drink coasters, scarecrows--the reflections spook the birds, or garden row markers. Your disco-ball project could really eat up a pile of old CDs, and yet more projects can be found at sites like hints and things (wow! what an eternal spring of crafty inspiration!) or family internet.

Well, re-use is above recycle on the pollution prevention hierarchy, but the crafts avenue may be too tacky for your bamboo-zen pad, and re-use as a candle-wax catcher may be the wrong choice if the CD makes only a short detour on its way to the landfill or incinerator. Fortunately, many local businesses are stepping up to the demand and collecting CDs for recycling. Check with you local waste management office for recommendations. Or, pack your collection up and send them off to a for-fee recycler such as Greendisk. (Europeans: Reuze, UK report on several possibilities for recycling unbroken disks sent postage-paid.)

TreeHuggers: your turn to share. Tell us, what do you do with your old CDs?

Via: TreeHugger Tipster Dennis and your TreeHugger Team