How to Dispose of a CD: 5 Best Ways

With CDs and DVDs becoming increasingly cheap, it’s not uncommon to have a surplus of discs you no longer want. But what do you do with them?

In this article, we will explore a few options for safely disposing of your unwanted CDs, depending on whether or not they contain sensitive data.

 CD&DVDs
Image Credit: electronics.howstuffworks.com

How to Dispose of a CD: 5 Simple Ways

1. Throw Away in the Garbage

CDs and DVDs can take up a lot of space, so, understandably, you would want to get rid of them. The quickest way to do this is by throwing them into the nearest bin; however, recycling discs instead helps declutter your home and office while also being eco-friendly.

2. Break Them in Half

You may take them out of the bin and return them for disc recycling. They can easily be collected, put in a drive, and read because they are readable discs that you didn’t want someone to be able to read so effortlessly when tossing old AOL CDs or magazine cover discs.

Cutting discs in half with scissors is an easy method to render them unreadable. The polycarbonate is rather pliable and simple to cut. If you don’t want to perform the tedious task of cutting each disc in half (the center section can be quite difficult), make three or four cuts from the edge toward the middle. 

3. Scratching a CD or DVD

A deep scratch on the optical surface of a CD or DVD will quickly destroy it. Ideally, it should go near the disc’s center since this is where volume information is; without it, the disc will not be readable.

There are several ways you can scratch a disc – using a key, scissors, or penknife, for example – but the simplest way I’ve found is to use a tool called Disc Eraser. Disc Eraser puts several deep scratches along a CD or DVD and renders it unreadable in a CD or DVD drive. We all like Disc Eraser because it’s cheap, quick, easy to use, clean, and, above all, safe.

4. Scraping off the Data Surface

Removing the top metallic layer is another approach to ruining a CD to DVD. Various methods include merely sanding the disc on the sidewalk with a foot to using specialized abrasive scrapers. This method is excellent for removing scratches if you don’t mind being covered in fine metallic aluminum.

5. Shredding

Shredding discs is an excellent method to destroy CDs and DVDs with sensitive data. A good disc shredder can process a large number of discs in a short time. On the other hand, shredding discs is quite noisy and messy (especially if the waste escapes from the shredder and onto the office floor).

Even though data theoretically can be recovered from a shredded disc, it would require tall enough equipment to read the CD tracks, which are 1.6 microns apart. To put this in perspective, a fragment of CD 0.16″ wide (4064 microns wide) could have 2540 tracks that are 1.25″ long running along it–a lot of data for such a small space. 

Suppose you put data on a DVD, which can hold more information in a smaller space (the minimal pit length of a single layer DVD-RAM is 0.4 microns as opposed to 0.834 microns for a CD). In that case, that implies considerably more readable data! However, shredding is an excellent method to get rid of discs unless you’re working with super-sensitive information.

Conclusion

CD disposal is not as easy as it seems. You cannot just toss them in the trashcan. If you have CDs to dispose of, be sure to take the necessary precautions and follow the proper protocol. For professional CD disposal, contact a company that specializes in secure data destruction. They will make sure your CDs are properly recycled and that your confidential information is completely destroyed.

FAQs

How do I mass destroy a CD?

To properly dispose of the discs, wrap them in plastic wrap and then fold them until it breaks. Next, shred the discs with a disc shredder. Finally, cut the discs using a pair of scissors (being careful as the foil may flake).

Can I put old CDs in the bin?

CDs are recyclable, but you cannot simply toss them in your curbside recycling bin. Now that listening to music has moved to internet streaming services, and you may have many dusty CDs stored in boxes at home.

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