Recycling Your DVDs and Cds

Chris Janota, mx123.com

dvd-trashAs our movie and music entertainment slowly but surely becomes served by digital media, the prices of our used DVDs and CDs are dropping rapidly. Its unfortunate but inevitable that the titles we once paid good money for, will become unloved and collect dust. And more and more titles become valueless, unsalable, unloved dust collectors in our closets.

Where is the final resting place of your DVDs and CDs going to be? The same place your VHS tapes ended up? At mx123.com we stopped buying back used VHS tapes seven years ago. Sadly, today they have no value for resale or recycling. If you cleared out your home of your VHS tapes already they probably made their way to a landfill somewhere. There are different pieces associated with magnetic media. The outside casing is made from different types of plastic and are hard to breakdown to different materials. The main component, mylar has no recycling value.

There are three main components to consider when recycling CDs and DVDs as each is made of different materials. Some are more easily recycled than others, but all can be put to new use.

1) Cover art and Liner Insert

Generally, cover and liner insert are made from paper and are relatively easy to recycle.

2) Discs

CDs and DVDs are made of similar materials and contain three main components:

  1. plastic,
  2. metals and
  3. ink

It is estimated that it will take over 1 million years for a disc to completely decompose in a landfill so the benefit in recycling disc is very important. Discs are considered plastic #7, a catch-all category for many different kinds of products. They are not generally accepted in most community recycling programs.

Discs are made mostly from polycarbonate, although a small amount of lacquer is also used as a protective coating. Aluminum in the primary metal in discs, but traces of gold, silver and nickel are also present. The dyes used in printing on the disc itself contain some petroleum products, but when it comes to recycling, only metal and plastic are processed.

3) Cases

While some DVD cases like from Warner Bros are made of paper or biodegradable products, most are still made with plastic #5.

Of the three components of CD and DVD packaging, jewel cases are generally the most difficult to recycle. Jewel cases are plastic #6. Its a cheap, but hard-to-recycle, material.

For materials like plastic #7 that are not accepted at your local recycling center, mail in services like the Recycling Center may be an option.

Of coarse the best use of your DVDs CDs and video games is to use them. Watching them, enjoying them, trade them, sell them off or even make a crafty art project idea.

Related article: Physical Media Vanishing Rapidly

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