What can I do with old program CDs?

Pam wants to know her options for disposing of old program CDs/DVDs.

“I’m de-cluttering my office and I have REALLY old program disks (Windows 98, XP, Vista, etc.  What can I do with them except hang them in trees to scare away birds or whatever, or make mobiles out of them?”

Crafts are always an option. I like to use them as coasters. A little inside tech writer joke. Unlike music CDs and movie DVDs, which you can donate to charity, sell, or pass along to a friend, out-of-date computer program discs are of no use to anyone.

Curbside recycling and most local e-waste disposal programs won’t accept them. But you do have some options.  Click this link to head to the CD Recycling Center page: http://www.cdrecyclingcenter.com/recycle-now/index

You can select your state from the drop-down menu to see what options are offered.


For this center, I get the option of printing out a shipping label.  And they also accept ink cartridges, old cell phones, and other waste.


Since the CDs in question contain old Windows programs and not personal information, security isn’t an issue. If you’re looking to dispose of old discs used for backups or document storage, you need to make sure your personal information is erased. If you still have an optical drive in your computer, you may be able to reformat and erase.  If that’s not an option and it’s possible that sensitive information is on the CDs, I’d suggest putting them into a plastic bag and bashing into a million little pieces.

Another option would be to offer them up for free on Craigslist, a community garage sale site, or to an artist’s group. Someone might want them for an art project.  Good luck with the cleanup.

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