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How To Recycle CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays

Compact Discs

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Have you got old CDs, CD-ROMs and DVDs hanging around that you no longer want?

Now that streaming of music and movies is so popular many people have replaced their collection of CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs with digital downloads.

Maybe you have some old CD roms that you no longer listen to, or maybe you just want to make some space in your home rather than hang on to DVDs that you only watched once.

What can you do to dispose of your old CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, games and even CD-ROM?

Donate your CDs, DVDs, Games and Blu-rays in Good Condition

If your discs are in good condition they should ideally be passed on to someone else who can use them.

Good condition means that there are no scratches or fingerprints on the disc, and that the case is not too smashed up.

Many charity shops no longer accept certain types of discs, so it's always best to check before you carry a huge bag to your local shop, only to have they turned away.

  1. Give them to friends or family or swap them rather than buying something new to replace them.
  2. Give them away on FreecycleFreegle and ReUseIt recycling groups.
  3. There are lots of websites where you can turn your old and unwanted CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays and games into cash in one free and simple process. You can get anything from 25 pence up to £3. You can check your item's potential value on the website and you can even donate the procedes to a number of well know charities. Some of the best-known are Music Magpie, Zapper and Ziffit.
  4. Give them to your local charity shop or to a jumble sale in aid of a local organisation. Be aware that many charity shops will only sell discs that are in visually perfect condition.

However it is possible that a couple of your old discs are still worth lots of money.

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.

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Obviously the condition matters in the value of any disc. 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.

The album was re-released in 2019 on CD, but it is only the original one that is collectable.

Do My DVDs Have Any Value?

There are also some DVDs that have a decent resale value.

If you have a TV series on DVD or Blu-ray that is not widely available on streaming services, there may still be fans of the series who are prepared to pay up to watch an old favourite.

A quick check on eBay or Amazon is the best way to find out of there is a market for your old box set.

What About Those Freebie Discs from the Newspaper?

Now you may be asking, what about the free CDs and DVDs that you used to 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.

Damaged Disks

If you have unwanted or damaged disks what else can you do with them apart from using them as coasters?

Can CDs, DVDs, CD-ROMs and Blu-rays be Recycled?

Both the 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.

The current advice is that domestic quantities of old disks will not be recycled by most local council household recycling centres and should not be put in your household recycling bin.

These discs should be put into your household waste for disposal.

You can take out the paper inserts and recycle them in your household recycling collection.

Some charity shops may be able to accept them for recycling, but please ask if they are able to take damaged discs before donating them. If they are not part of a recycling scheme, the charity shop will have to put them in the bin.

You Could Get Creative

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.

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