How many old, unused CDs, DVDs or computer disks do you have lying around your home or office? If you're not using them any more, do you know how to dispose of them?
CDs and DVDs contain a variety of substances that make them bad candidates for landfills. In addition to plastics, disks are packed with aluminum and other materials that can be re-purposed rather than hidden in the ground. So if you're planning on throwing some old CDs away, consider recycling them instead.
But before you go the recycling route, check around your local community for groups that might accept and recycle CDs. Your library or local thrift shop is a good possibility for anything that has a resale value.
If not, there are a number of companies that will collect your disks and recycle them for you. All of them will properly dispose of data disks so your data will be safe and them recycle the materials so they can be re-used for a variety of purposes. In addition to the disks themselves, most of these companies will also recycle your old jewel cases and even the paper inserts that came with the disks!
Now, there is a catch: you'll need to pay for shipping to send your disks to any of these recyclers. But if you collect them instead of sending them one at a time, it should be worth the cost. (For example, you can set up a recycling program at your workplace to collect a great big pile of data disks before you send them in.)
Here are a few recycling companies worth checking out: GreenDisk Back Thru The Future Computer Recycling, Inc. The Compact Disc Recycling Center of America Polysource International Inc.
Oh, and don't forget: a used compact disk or a DVD might not have much value, but in addition to recycling, you can also re-use a disk for a variety of craft projects. Check out this list
for some fun ideas.