How to Reuse Old CD’s

How to Reuse Old CD'sRemember when 8-tracks were all the rage? No? Us neither. But wondering where all those 8-tracks went has kept us up a night or two. At least we know where the records went. And someday, CD’s will be a thing of the past as well (can’t we just all agree to stop with the musical substitutions? Having to constantly recreate our collection is becoming quite the annoyance).

In preparation for that day, The Budget Ecoist wants to help you with some ideas on how you can recycle the CD’s you no longer use.

Why recycle CD’s? CD’s and DVD’s are made from lacquers, aluminum and sometimes gold. Most of their weight, though, is polycarbonate plastic – yet another plastic made from crude oil. Throwing them in a landfill guarantees they’ll be around far longer than any of us. They don’t break down, and over time can release Bisphenol A (BPA). Burning CD and DVD media releases toxic fumes.

If you’re not interested in repurposing those CD’s, there are recycling services that are free; you need only to pay the postage. It doesn’t matter what condition the CD or DVD is in; even broken ones will be accepted.

Here are a few organizations that offer free DVD and CD recycling services:

CD recycling center

CD Recycling For Free

For the more creative folk, here are some ideas on how to reuse those CD’s and DVD’s:

  1. Trade em in – If the CD’s are in good condition you can bring them to a recycled record store for cash or credit. Note that even if the store does not want your CD, they will often accept them for recycling.
  2. Drink coasters – Cut a round piece of felt to fit over the CD and glue it onto the label side of the CD so that the shiny side will face up when you use the coaster.
  3. Make a mobile – There are plenty of designs you can search on the web. We’re partial to this recycled bottle fish mobile hanging from a CD.
  4. Scarecrow replacement – Hang them from trees to prevent birds from being a nuisance in your garden. The deflected light scares the birds.
  5. Holiday decorations – Just in time for Christmas, make a CD wreath.
  6. CD photo frame: This simple art project can be used to entertain kids on a gloomy day, or provide them with an opportunity to create an original gift.
  7. Candle holders – Place CD’s under candles to catch the drips of wax.
  8. Bike safety – Use them as reflectors on your bike wheels.
  9. Garden row markers – Write the name of the vegetable on the CD, with a permanent marker. Glue the CD to a Popsicle stick and put it in the ground to mark your garden rows.
  10. Make a clock – Turn a disc into a funky clock. Inexpensive kits can be purchased online. Paint and design one side of the CD and let it dry. Write or use stickers to create the numbers around its edge. Assemble the clockwork onto the CD.
  11. Wind chime – Glue two CD’s together and let dry. Drill one tiny hole in top and five or six holes along bottom. Use permanent magic markers to decorate both sides of CD’s. Draw a simple design with a black marker and fill in with the colored markers. Hang beads or metal rods from bottom holes using floss or fishing line. Tie a piece of same in top hole and make a loop for hanging. You can also decorate these C.D.’s with sequins or beads instead of the magic markers.
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Catherine Brock

Catherine Brock is a writer, editor and marketer who's been sharing wisdom online since 2002. She's been featured on, and ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis and KCAL9 Los Angeles. Connect with Catherine on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter.
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