How to reuse / recycle old cds

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old cds ready for upcyclingVicky has a musical query.

She writes “I want to know what to do with old cds – any ideas for recycling?

I’m limited as the amount I wish to be creative with!”

As ever I put the query out to our wonderful Zero Heroes community and here’s what they came up with:

Sun catchers

Angela wrote “Old CDs make lovely sun catcher mobiles”

Suncatchers look amazing in windows, on a balcony, or just hanging in your garden.

Find a simple tutorial here.

cd sun catcher

Bird scarers

Victoria, Linda and Liz share similar thoughts.

Victoria said “A good use of old cd’s is to scare away pests from your garden – you hang them with string from trees or bamboo sticks in your fruit and veg garden.”

Linda agreed. She wrote “You can use them as bird scarers in the garden. String them up from the holes in the middle. They catch the sunlight as they move in the wind and deter birds from pecking your newly planted seeds or veggies.”

Liz shared “I blogged a few years ago about an upcycling use for old CDs and we still make these now for the garden.  I thought it might be useful for your reader!”

These fishy creations not only look funky but they act as bird scarers too!

Want to make your own? Follow Liz’s tutorial here.

upcycling idea for old cds

Coasters

Karen goes for the simple option. She says “I use them as coasters.”

cds upcycled into coasters

Decorations

Петя shared “I think these decorations look very nice and aren’t hard to make!”

cds upcycled into decorations

He also found this lamp which I think looks amazing!

cds upcycled into a lamp

Arts and crafts

Suella shared “I have seen CD’s briefly heated in the oven to make twisted necklace and costume elements for children or adults for Halloween.  Enough of them overlap to look like fish scales, and could be use for rubbing plates for a large art piece or hanging.  Covered with fabric both sides and stitched  around the disc shape, they can give  detail  and structure to something artistic.
They cut into segments with kitchen scissors. I understand they colour with alcohol inks. You’ll find lots and lots of ideas online.

Mosaic tile birdbath

Gabby found a tutorial over on the “Me and my diy” site for a mosaic bird bath; so the CDs become a ‘free’ and ‘green’ Mother of Pearl substitute.  Although Петя was concerned the light effects might scare the birds away!

moasic tile birdbath made from old cds

One man’s trash

Lyn says “I tend to give CDs to charity shop. They are a great way to pass on stuff you have got fed up with (Gary Glitter present!) and pick up some cheap retro sing-a-long (wham) for the car. Constant recycling.”

Think before you act!

Françoise suggests we think ahead. She said “One solution is to really think about when to copy items onto CD; and for music, Freecycle is a great way to pass on music you no longer want but someone else might.”

Reuse the cases

Victoria added a p.s. to her suggestion to avoid wasting the jewel cases too: “my mother-in-law has hung old cd cases on the wall and put family photos in them”.

cd jewel case upcycled into photo frame

Aimie is all about using the cd cases in the garden. She wrote “Cd cases could be spray painted and used as colourful slabs in garden flower beds (im doing up ny garden if u couldnt tell!) or as colourful garden wall plaques.”

I wasn’t entirely sure what she meant, but Google threw me THIS magnificent creation!

These empty CD cases have been transformed with the aid of some green and blue LED lights. The cases have then been used as ground tiling that helps to light up the path of a garden or path area in front of your home…

cd cases upcycled into LED lit garden path

That got me thinking, and on my travels around the internet, I found a tutorial for creating this fantastic mini greenhouse:

upcycled cd case greenhouse

Aimie then suggested they could be made into plastic storages boxes:

cd cases upcycled into pen holder

Recycle

Not into arts and crafts? Well according to Richard on Twitter, you can recycle old cds!

 Jay agreed. She discovered the material from cds is worth £1/kg when shredded and shared a link to Disc Recycling. You do have to pay to get them shipped there, but I know some people are willing to put their money where their mouth is, in order to ‘do the right thing’.

Disc recycling say “For individuals or small businesses we can provide a specially designed box that holds up to 400 CD, DVD, Blu-Ray discs ( 7.1 Kg ) A £30 charge covers, delivery and return postage cost, secure processing & recycling.”

Rachel emailed and told me about Polymer Recycling who say:

We are happy to accept postal/courier deliveries of unwanted CDs, DVDs and cases from organisations and members of the public for recycling, provided that postage/delivery is paid by the sender. The address to send them to is:

Polymer Recycling Ltd
Peninsula Business Park
Reeds Lane
Moreton
Wirral
CH46 1DW

What about you –  how do you reuse or recycle your old cds?

Rachelle Strauss
Rachelle Strauss
Rachelle Strauss is founder of MyZeroWaste.com and ZeroWasteWeek.co.uk Both are leading websites for helping householders reduce landfill waste. Her work has attracted media stories and engagement in documentaries, film and radio both locally and abroad.

3 Comments

  1. Ariana says:

    I love the mosaic tiles and the greenhouse, just beautiful!
    A few years ago I was in a wedding and we used a bunch of the bride’s unwanted CDs as invitations for the shower…we just recovered them with custom labels of the bride and groom with shower information. Unfortunately, the labels we used weren’t eco-friendly, and neither was the printing process- I like these ideas much better!

    • Thanks for commenting Ariana; the greenhouse is amazing isn’t it? I’d love to build one of these. I do love your idea of invitations; that so outside the box and inspirational!

  2. Sofia says:

    Hi! It seems like both the companies that recycle CDs and DVDs mentioned in the post don’t exist anymore. Sofia

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