How to Recycle CDs

4 steps to keep your CDs out of landfills

If your interest in a particular CD has waned or if it's too scratched or damaged, don't toss it in the garbage! Millions of CDs end up in landfills every year, but with a little effort, you can spare our crowded landfills of these polycarbonate plastics that take hundreds of years to decompose. If you have CDs you no longer want or are too damaged to utilize, you may want to think more in terms of reduce, reuse and recycle than throwing them in the garbage.

Step 1: Try to repair the CD

You can purchase repair kits to fix small scratches in CDs, or you can try using a mild abrasive like toothpaste for a DIY-type of fix. Some stores also have CD repair “pens” that can be used on the scratched surface.

Step 2: Reuse your CD

If your CD is still in fairly good condition but you're no longer interested in keeping it, consider selling it to a record exchange, donating it or creating a CD swap with friends and neighbors. Many music stores, and even some book stores, have programs where they'll buy used CDs for resale. Consider selling your used CDs in consignment shops or online marketplaces, or donating them to a charity like the Salvation Army.

Step 3: Creatively repurpose your CD

As long as the CDs are not broken or chipped with sharp edges you can get crafty with them. Gluing some felt on the bottom, you can use them as coasters, decorating the top anyway you like or just leaving it as it is.

CDs can also make interesting sun catchers for your window. Or they can be used as reflectors. Placing the shiny side out, you can affix the old CD to a wooden stake along your driveway or walkway. They can be used as candle holders, Christmas light reflectors and in scrapbooks. Being creative is a wonderful way to keep CDs out of the landfills.

Step 4: Recycle your CD

If there is truly no hope for your old CDs, there are a few online organizations that will take your used CDs and dispose of them properly. It's best to first check with your town to see if CDs can be included with your regular recycle pick up or drop off. If they don't yet have a program to include CDs, check the EPA website for information on mail-in companies that can recycle your used CDs.

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