I just received an email with the following questions regarding recycling CDs and their cases:
How would I recycle plastic CD cases? Can I just chuck the whole CD into the recycling bin?
Admittedly, I didn’t know the answer and needed to do some research. After wading through some how-to crafts, I found the answer I was looking for. Read on!
How would I recycle CD plastic covers?
Beyond, “I don’t know,” my first reaction to this question was that, sure, as the second question implies, you can put them into your general recycling bin and send them off with whatever cans, bottles, and paper you put by the curb or deliver to a recycling center.
However, I was skeptical of this actually working, because I could not find a recycling symbol and plastic type labeled on my jewel CD cases.
So, while some might have such a symbol, some do not. I’m concerned that if you send them to a recycler, they may be required to remove it from the recycling because of uncertainty of the components’ plastic type. Maybe they know what the type is, but maybe they don’t. Who knows?
Can I just chuck the whole CD cover into the recycling bin?
Alright, so maybe you decide to take your chances and dump the whole thing in the recycling. And you might go the extra distance and remove the paper inserts in order to make the process easier at the recycling plant, just as you might remove a label or rinse a can before you recycle it.
The biggest sign to me that these can’t just be dumped in with your weekly recyclables is that there are special recyclers for CDs and CD cases and that tends to be the case with items that can’t be sent to general recyclers. The presence of the specialty recyclers indicates an absence of the ability to recycle the product otherwise.
Here you may be running the risk of trying to do the right thing and your CD cases still making their way into a landfill. How do you go the extra, extra distance and be assured that your CD cases are recycled properly?
Furthermore, why should you care about that risk?
Wasting plastic that could otherwise be reused to a landfill is wasteful enough — you know that and that’s why you’re reading about recycling plastic!
But consider if you’re dumping the CDs, too! A compact disc’s manufacturing process uses some of the following: aluminum, polycarbonate, lacquer, gold, dyes, glass, silver, and nickel.
All of these materials are extracted from the earth or produced for new CDs. So you want to be sure that your unwanted CDs — and their plastic cases — get recycled in order to help conserve these materials (and the energy it takes to extract them from the earth).
How to Recycle Your CD Cases (and related items):
Finally, the answer you were looking for! You can use the GreenDisk Technotrash Pack-IT Service to rid yourself of not only unwanted CD cases, but also CDs, DVDs, and other media, and to do so in an environmentally-friendly way.
Additionally, you can send your hard drives, cords, mice, chargers, cell phones, and printer cartridges to Greendisk, using the same service! Here’s a list of the items they will accept through this service.
For a Small Cost, You Can Recycle a Lot!
There is a cost, but it is not exorbitant. This service is $6.95 for up to 20 pounds of recyclable material and $0.30 for every pound after that. You pay the shipping to their facility, so probably looking at a total of of $15 to $20.
So for not much money, you can recycle probably a few years’ worth of your personal techno garbage. Of course I mean, “technological” garbage here and not referring to your techno music CD cases as, “garbage”. I wouldn’t dare!
Going to spend the $15 or $20? Make it worth it! Include other technology-related garbage in your box so that you get your money’s worth! Search your home for the items on the GreenDisk list. Have some cords with shorts in them? An old, broken mouse? Send them in!
One more thing: Beware that while you can send printer cartridges and cell phones along with your CD cases, these items also might yield a small amount of cash through another recycler. You could find yourself subsidizing some costs of recycling with that cash!
Update: I found a place that recycles CDs and DVDs (just the discs, not the cases) at: CD Recycling for Free. So, if you have a lot of compact discs to recycle but not much else technology-related recyclables, like cases and cords, you migth consider this free option. If you’re sending off to GreenDisk already, however, and paying their fee, you probably should just send the CDs along.