Some small ways to upcycle old CDs/DVDs

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

I am sure many of us have old CDs and DVDs or various kinds laying around the place that are duds, no longer used or simply no longer usable and recycling those is actually not as easy as it is thought.

CDs or DVDs that are no longer any good are a special issue when it comes to “ordinary” recycling as they are of a material that is not accepted in all countries by municipal recyclers.

Many folks seem to think that just because they are made of plastic they can be recycled but they are, in fact, a laminate. You have the label on it, and the most important bit that layer of silver or gold and it is rather hard to separate those different layers from one another. Therefore the recycling of CDs and DVDs is nigh impossible.

However, upcycling them is a different story and a good one at that, and they can easily be upcycled for a number of purposes:

In a previous article I have already mentioned the reuse of them, as they are, as drinks coasters, and one can make rather interesting sets of them.

DRINKS COASTERS: My favorite one, as I get masses of them in press packs, from shows and trade fairs, and once I have copied the data from them they are no longer required as data carrier, is to turn them into drinks coaster. No skills needed and no tools either. Just take them and pop them on the table and – voila – a coaster.

SUN CATCHER: This is another great way to upcycle CDs/DVDs and they are fun to have hanging in the window or the porch. Drill a small hole at the top, thread some string through that hole and hang them up. Better still get some of those swivels used for fishing lures; makes the discs spin better in the breeze.

BIRD SCARER: Those discs also make relatively good bird scarers in the garden. Obviously, they only work well when the sun is shining and there is some air movement. Basically, this is works on the same idea as the “sun catcher”.

ART: If they have – and some do – interesting designs or pictures on them why not pop a few into a picture frame as some kind of artwork?

EMERGENCY SIGNAL MIRROR: The small business card size CDs especially that one comes across at times on the shows with information of companies or, in fact, as business cards of someone, make great little signal mirrors for the inclusion in survival kits, and even more so as they always come in their own protective sleeve.

The above ideas for upcycling of CDs and DVDs does not, as such, involve the use of any tools in order to transform the discs, bar for a drill with which to make some holes into the discs used for sun catchers and bird scarers through which to put the strings for hanging them up.

I am sure you can come up with some ideas of your own even, if you but will put your mind to it.

© 2010