Feature image for the blog : How CDs Are Recycled and Why Is It Important

How CDs Are Recycled and Why Is It Important


Children from the 1980s to 2000s must be familiar with the importance of CDs and might still have their vast collection stashed somewhere. But are you planning to keep it for the next 10 or 15 years? Probably not! 

Such unnecessary storage media can only add more to the piles of electronic waste, which can be menacing to the health of each living being, especially if discarded without proper treatment. In case of having compact discs which are no longer suitable for repurposing or don’t worth a dime in the resale market, recycle them. Or else they will cause land pollution and soil or water contamination. 

Is Recycling Old CDs Important? 

You must be thinking, “why you can’t just dump your old or damaged CDs in the junkyard or directly into a bin?” As a matter of fact, recycling CD is essential since it contains particular non-biodegradable plastics, and improperly recycled CDs (throwing them in your curbside recycling bin) will stay in a landfill and pollute the soil and intoxicate the air. The longer the CD remains in the land, the carcinogenic materials such as Styrene and Benzene will keep leaching. 

One of the significant reasons behind recycling CDs is their ability to harm the environment. Upon melting CDs through the combustion, poisonous chemicals are released into water supplies, threatening human health. The use of BPA plastic associates the CDs directly with deteriorating heart health and increased chances of diabetes. That’s why we advise you never to overlook compact discs for e-waste recycling! 

Moreover, it comprises valuable materials (metals, polycarbonate, gold, aluminium, etc.) that need to be extracted and can be re-used in manufacturing.  

How Are CDs Recycled?  

CDs are recycled as soon as you hand them over to the electronic waste recycling company. First of all, you must understand: 

  1. CDs are made of plastic different from bottles that are usually difficult to recycle. 
  2. One CD is manufactured of various plastic resins – CD cases are #6 plastic (polystyrene), discs are #7 plastic (polycarbonate), the casing of tapes is #5 plastic (polypropylene), and the tape is #1 plastic (polyethylene terephthalate).
  3. CDs might have trace amounts of precious metals, which are easier to recycle – the most common are aluminium and gold. 

Due to the versatility in the composition of compact discs, you will be following multiple standards and methods for recycling different materials. The best practice is to break down the CD into its 3 components: the shiny plastic, the case, and the paper liner notes. 

The process starts with stripping away the reflective surface through diverse techniques, followed by mixing coating with chemicals for extracting re-usable metals. The sorted materials are supplied to the production companies to be used to manufacture other products. The recycling process is completed by shredding and melting down the remaining plastic. This is how they get a new raw plastic useful for making more industrial items.

Picture of a CD with a recycle sign

Recently, a trend of “chemical recycling” has been seen but cancelled out for its perilous effects. Mechanical ways of recycling plastic are still preferable as it poses fewer risks to human health.  

Where can Out-Of-Use CDs be Recycled?  

As CDs are known to have metal in their composition, the industry categorises them as electronics that cannot be discarded away in a curbside single-stream recycling bin. You must look for the e-waste companies with advanced recycling facilities that accept compact discs. 

Plenty of certified e-waste recycling programs are available that ask for CD submission through mail. Or else, you can drop them off at a certain pick-up point. Yes, you will probably be paying them a small amount, but it is worth the one-time fee. One of the most famous companies you can trust is Terracycle.  

You might be able to find a nearby local electronics recycling centre where you can submit your damaged or non-functional CDs to be transported to the electronics recycler specialists. 

Highest Quality Printable Disk Collection 

If you still want to save your memories or need your favourite film saved in CDs and DVDs, Neo Online is here to deliver you blank Blu-ray discs to dual-layer DVDs, photo CDs to printable DVD-R in the best quality. Our wide variety of writeable optical discs is surely a brilliant storage option. 

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