Image Credit: elvis santana
(July 2019: This article has been updated to reflect the current trends in collecting vintage compact discs.)
Have you got old CDs, CD-ROMs and DVDs hanging around that you no longer want.? Maybe you have replaced many of your CDs and DVDs with Blu-ray discs or digital downloads.
What can you do with your unwanted disks?
If they are in good condition they should ideally be passed on to someone else who can use them.
However after the resurgence of interest in vinyl records, some original CDs are starting to become sought-after collectors items.
There are people who collect the earliest CDs produced; some of the very first CD pressings such as ABBA's The Visitors from 1982, can command silly money (At time of writing an original copy went for over £300 on eBay). Look out for CD's made in the early 1980's especially those marked "Made in West Germany" to identify if it might be a collector's item.
Obviously the condition matters in the value of any dics. Famously many of the early Now That's What I Call Music CDs are collectors items, as comparatively few were sold at the time, and many were not looked after. The first CD release, Now 4, is the rarest with mint copies going for several £100's.
Now you may be asking, what about the free CDs and DVDs that you find in newspapers and magazines? Check before you donate these to a charity shop; many won't sell them, and at best they will be distributed to the shop staff and volunteers. Otherwise they just go in the bin and off to landfill anyway.
If you have free CDs and DVDs or damaged disks what else can you do with them apart from using them as coasters?
Both the disks and the plastic jewel cases from disks are 100% recycleable.
Unfortunately however, at present we do not know of anywhere will accept disks for recycling from the general public, and I'm afraid the current advice is that domestic quantities of old disks will not be recycled by most local council household recycling centres, and should be put into your household waste for disposal.
Green Ant Recycling will accept old CDs and DVDs for recycling, however they are focused on industrial quantities of materials. If the CDs and DVDs are still in their cases they need a minimum of around 3 tonnes to make collections viable without having to charge you.
So here's the maths .. a CD in it's case weighs around 100g. 3 tonnes is approximately 3000kg, so you would need to have a minimum of 30,000 CDs to make collection viable for the company. That is quite a CD collection to dispose of.
Of course you may have some ideas on how to reuse them yourself. Gardeners often hang them up in their vegetable patches because the light reflections frighten off birds. They could also make an interesting mobile for a baby's room.
Here are some magnificently artistic and creative ways to reuse unwanted CDs.
And you could, of course, use them to decorate a suit. The record 'Pop Muzik' by 'M', originally released in 1979 was remixed in 1989 and when lead singer Robin Scott appeared on Top Of The Pops he wore a suit completely covered in CDs. Check out the video below. Must have weighed a ton
There is also a growing demand by collectors for original videotapes and audio cassettes, so you might want to check your collection before you decide to recycle your videos and tapes.
Last updated 11th July 2019
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