Before the days of streaming, CDs and DVDs were the main medium for music and films. But just as the DVD replaced the VHS and rendered it obsolete, DVDs have been replaced by streaming services. It’s easier for the consumer, but it does cause a big problem. What are we going to do with all of those plastic CDs and DVDs?

The Scale Of The Problem

If you look around your house right now, chances are you would have a lot of CDs and DVDs that you never use anymore. Estimates suggest that over 5.5 million CDs are thrown away every year and over 50 tons of DVDs become obsolete every month as the films on them are replaced by streaming services. That creates a huge waste problem because that’s a lot of plastic. They cannot be thrown into a standard recycling bin at home, which means that most of it goes straight into landfill, unless you find CD recycling solutions.

What Are CDs And DVDs Made From?

CDs and DVDs are made using a lot of plastics in multiple layers. The makeup of a typical disc is as follows:
  • A base made from polycarbonate plastic (made from crude oil or natural gas).
  • A thin coating of aluminium.
  • A clear protective coating of acrylic.
  • Cases made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
These materials are incredibly harmful to the environment if they are not disposed of properly. As they decompose, they release Bisphenol A into the soil. This is a big issue because BSA can be harmful to health. The decomposition process for these discs may take as long as 1 million years.

How Are CDs And DVDs Recycled? 

The good news is, there are options available for CD recycling and DVD recycling. There are companies out there that may buy your old CDs and DVDs if they are popular. There are still people out there that use the old fashioned formats and haven’t gotten on board with streaming yet. These companies will buy your old discs and sell them on, so you can keep them out of landfills and make a little extra money at the same time. If you cannot sell your CDs and DVDs, it is important that you get them recycled. The CD and DVD recycling process is fairly simple. First, the reflective surface of the disc is stripped away using sand, mechanic action, or solvents. The coating will then be mixed with chemicals to retrieve the valuable metals. The remaining discs can then be recycled to make new CDs and DVDs. However, this is less likely as demand for the format declines. It is more likely that the remaining plastic will be shredded and then melted down to make a new raw material. This raw plastic can be reformed into a number of different products, including office equipment, automotive parts, and electrical cable insulation. If you have any old CDs and DVDs lying around, make sure that you don’t throw them straight in the bin. You need to get them down to a CD and DVD recycling provider to dispose of them properly.