CD recycling tips

Let’s face it — those classic rock tunes from the 80s and 90s don’t get much rotation in your stereo these days, and even when you do feel the need for nostalgia, you can probably just turn on your mp3 player. So what do you do with all of those old CDs?

Throwing them away is a horrible idea, considering that CDs are made from a plastic that takes years to decompose. Recycling CDs is much more environmentally friendly. It is also becoming a popular way to clear some space — and in some ways, make some money — for all the music fans that have officially entered the digital era. It might sound boring, but there are actually some pretty cool ways to turn your CDs into something useful.

CD swaps with your friends. Just because you’re sick of listening to The Sundays doesn’t mean your friends are. Get the gang together for an evening of reminiscing and trading old CDs because one man’s trash could be another man’s musical treasure.

Make new mixes. Remember when you started buying rewritable discs and recording your own music mixes? If you still have any CD-RWs in your music stash, remember that you can record over them again and again. Putting together a new playlist for your car or making a disc as a gift for a friend are two great ways to make use of your still valuable discs.

Donate them. If your music is in the vein of highly popular tunes, they could do a lot of good elsewhere. Consider giving them away to a hospital or charity that can use your soothing music to lift someone’s spirits.

Sell CDs online. For years, music lovers have been creating their own commercial spaces for old CDs by using sites like Amazon and Ebay. Now they don’t even have to bother with direct selling with new online services like musicMagpie that buy music, DVDs and video games from users in bulk.

Get crafty. Ever wondered how those shiny discs would look as a CD clock or how they would fare as makeshift hovercrafts? Besides their infinite ability to entertain, CDs also have some aesthetic qualities and practical advantages, so put your inner craftsman to the test by making cool decorations or simple toys.

Sell them to a record store. You could just go the old school route by taking your old collection to a record store. It’s not as convenient or easy as selling them online, but you do get the advantage of being able to negotiate a price for your old discs.

These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. Recycling CDs doesn’t have to be redundant, so add to this list with your own ideas for giving your CDs new life.