How to Dispose of a CD: 5 Best Ways

As technology continues to advance, CDs have become less and less popular. Nowadays, most people stream music and movies online, leaving physical discs gathering dust in their homes.

If you have a collection of CDs you no longer use, it’s essential to dispose of them properly to avoid harming the environment. In this article, we will discuss the five best ways to dispose of a CD.

Image Credit:

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 disc 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.

Benefits of Properly Disposing of CDs

  1. Environmental Protection: CDs contain materials that can harm the environment if not disposed of properly. By recycling or donating them, you can reduce the amount of waste in landfills and minimize your carbon footprint.
  2. Space Optimization: CDs take up much space, especially if you have a large collection. By disposing of them properly, you can free up space in your home and make room for new items.
  3. Safety: Properly disposing of CDs can also improve safety in your home. Broken CD fragments can be sharp and dangerous, especially if they are left lying around. By destroying or shredding your CDs, you can eliminate this risk.

Tips for Properly Disposing of CDs

  1. Check with your local recycling center: Not all recycling centers accept CDs, so it’s essential to check with your local center first. Some centers may have special instructions on recycling CDs, such as removing the paper label or separating the disc from the case.
  2. Donate or sell: Consider donating or selling your CDs if they are still in good condition. This is an excellent way to give them a second life and help others save money.
  3. Repurpose: Get creative and find new ways to use your old CDs. You can turn them into coasters or wall art or even use them in a DIY project.

Challenges of Properly Disposing of CDs

  1. Lack of Recycling Options: Some recycling centers may not accept CDs, making it challenging to dispose of them properly. In this case, you may need to find a specialized CD recycling program or use alternative methods like donation or repurposing.
  2. Sensitive Information: CDs may contain sensitive information, such as personal or financial data. Properly disposing of them requires extra care to ensure this information is not accessible to others.
  3. Time and Effort: Properly disposing of CDs takes time and effort, especially if you have a large collection. Sorting through them, removing paper labels, and shredding or destroying them can be time-consuming.


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.


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.

What happens if you boil a CD?

Boiling a CD can cause the disc to warp, melt, or become distorted due to the high temperature. This can make the CD unusable and potentially damage any equipment used to heat the disc.

Additional Contents

  1. Air Button for Garbage Disposal
  2. Garbage Disposal Leaking from Reset Button
  3. Garbage Disposal Reset Button
  4. Coffee Grounds in a Garbage Disposal
  5. How to Wire Garbage Disposal