What Happens to donated CDs and DVDs?

Each year, according to UK statistics on waste, the UK throws away approximately 2500 tonnes CDs and DVDs that are perfectly good to reuse, recycle or donate to charities. The main reason for this is that CD and DVD recycling are not widely available. Most councils do not offer CD and DVD recycling facilities and many charity shops do not have the space to take them in. We are in partnerships with several charities. You can recycle your CDs and DVDs direct from your doorstep.

With so many streaming services, such as Netflix, Amazon and Spotify, most households no longer use or need their CD or DVDs. They take up unnecessary space and collect dust. There are billions of CDs and DVDs in UK households. Majority of the discs within that household will not be used again. According to statista.com, only 31% of UK households have a DVD player and recent estimates suggest that less than 50% have a CD player.

25% of CDs and DVDs that we collect from our donations are re-homed and we donate some of them to any charity that needs them. The most sought-after genres are:

  • Educational films
  • Children’s films
  • Video Game Discs
  • Rare and retro discs

The remainder are recycled as they are:

  • Damaged
  • Another language
  • Playback formats that do not work in the UK
  • Restricted content
  • Unsuitable for UK viewing (BBFC)
  • Surplus stock

How are CDs and DVDs recycled?

Book a collection: This first step involves you. Pack up your disc’s and book a date to have them collected direct from your doorstep. Remember to select a charity or charities for us to share the proceeds of your donations with.

Book Your Book Collection

We Collect: We do the second stage, which is the collection and transportation of the discs you have donated to a central location. We collect over 1 millions disks every year, direct from a home, left on the doorstep.

Shredding and granulation: The next stage involves an industrial shredder. One for the plastic box and another for the disk itself. The shredded pieces are then ground into smaller pieces. This makes the next step easier.

Separation and washing: The different materials that make up a disk are then separated. The small granules are washed to remove any impurities.

Pelletizing and Manufacturing: The washed granules are then melted into strands and cut into pellets. The pellets are now the raw material used to manufacture something new. The pellets are then used to manufacture something brand new.

What happens with the recycled materials from CDs and DVDs?

CD and DVDs typically consist of 3 materials which are recyclable: Polycarbonate plastic, Polystyrene plastic and Aluminium.

Recycled polycarbonate plastic is used in the automotive industry for the manufacture of head and taillights, dashboards, and instrument panels.  It is also used to manufacture reusable plastic bottles, food storage containers and the casings for various electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

Recycled polystyrene plastic is used in packaging materials such as molded foam to protect expensive electronic items. It is also used in the construction industry to manufacture lightweight concrete bricks and can be found on insulation boards.

Recycled aluminium has many uses, such as beverage cans, car parts, window frames and is in many kitchen devices and utensils.

Why should you recycle your CDs and DVDs?

Energy Savings: Recycling plastic typically uses 75% less energy than making new plastic, which is significantly better for our environment.

Environmental Conservation: CDs and DVDs are primarily made from plastic and are not biodegradable. As they degrade in landfills over time, they release harmful chemicals into the soil and groundwater.

Landfill Space: Our landfills are already under significant pressure and we should not be throwing away items that can be recycled.

Economic Benefits: All recycling involves employing people and training them with new skills contributing to the overall productivity of the UK.  Your CD and DVD doorstep donations help create employment locally.

Social Benefits: As previously mentioned, some 25% of CDs and DVDs are reused. Second hand disks are significantly cheaper than new disks and are therefore more affordable. Some discs donated are made available to schools, charities and community centres. The UK charity sector is under severe financial stress and any help we can give them is hugely appreciated.

Supporting the Circular Economy. Your disc donations support the circular economy. We are creating a sustainable future for everyone and charities benefit too. Now you know what happens to donated CDs and DVDs, keep reading to see what you can do to help.

What can you do?

 By booking a doorstep collection to donate your unwanted CDs, DVDs and all other discs, you are supporting charities and, in our quest, to keep all discs away from landfills. You are also supporting the environment and the economy by booking a collection and donating your discs to us.  75% less energy is used and therefore less pollution. Hazardous contaminants are kept out of our landfills and groundwater. Affordable CDs and DVDs are available to those that need them, and we are supporting a more sustainable future. Now you know what happens to CDs and DVDs. Get your collection booked in to clear some space in your home and help our planet.

Book Your Disc Collection

To find out what to do with your old books, click here. Following on from books, we also collect all kitchenware, find out more here to see how you can donate your kitchenware & book your collection to have them picked up.

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