Here are our Frequently Asked Questions. If you do not find an answer to your question please let us know by getting in contact via our .
Is Postage covered?
Unfortunately due to the amount of CDs and DVDs we receive on a daily basis we are unable to cover the cost of postage at present.
However, we are looking into ways of reducing this so do keep checking back on our site for updates.
Alternatively if you have a suggestion, do let us know by filling in the form on our Contact Us page
What happens to my CDs and DVDs I send?
Depending on the quantity you send us to recycle we do one of the following two options:
1. We use the CDs / DVDs to make into our Recycled CD Clocks which we then sell on our website OR
2. They are sent off to be granulated down ready for reuse. This is generally for the larger quantities received.
My CDs/DVDs have sensitive data. How is this managed?
The larger quantities of our CDs and DVDs we receive are sent off to a recycling plant where the paint, aluminium and data is removed before the CDs and DVDs are granulated ready to be recycled.
The smaller quantities are used to make our CD Clocks whereby on each of the CDs and DVDs we use the surface is scratched making the data unreadable.
If you have further concerns, do feel free to scratch the surface of the CDs and DVDs yourself before sending them to us.
Do you accept the Jewel casing or any other packaging?
Unfortunately we do not accept any parts of additional packaging including the Jewel casing as we are unable to recycle these at present. There is a company listed on our Links page which do take the Jewel casing for recycling.
How are CDs and DVDs made?
There are 8 stages in the process of turning digital data into the CDs we buy and play.
A polished glass disc is coated in a thin layer of photoresist - a light reactive material - onto which the data is etched by laser in binary form. Data is layed in grooves similar to those on a vinyl record but is read from the centre to the outside rather than from the outside inwards as on vinyl records.
A metal - usually silver over nickel flash - is evaporated over the photoresist. Once this master has been checked for accuracy it undergoes electroforming where more metal is deposited on the silver layer.
The master is used as a mould to create several metal impressions which are less fragile than the glass master. These metal impressions are called ‘mothers’ and also undergo electroplating and are then used to create ‘sons’ - another series of metal negative impressions. These ‘sons’ are used as moulds or stampers to create the CDs we use.
Each CD we buy is made from a thick layer of plastic - transparent liquid polycarbonate - which is injected into the metal ‘son’ moulds with the data stamped or imprinted onto it.
As the plastic layer is virtually transparent, a layer of reflective metallic material - usually aluminium - is applied to the non-data side of the CD to enable the CD player to read the data effectively.
To further protect both sides of the CD another thin surface plastic layer - acrylic laquer coating - is applied and cured by UV light.
The laquer coating forms a suitable base onto which the CD label can be printed. Labels are printed either by silk screen or offset printing onto the CD.
The final stage is placing the resulting CD into a jewelled case along with an inlay card and other promotional material ready for distribution.DVDs are made in a similar way to CDs but they contain several more layers of polycarbonate plastic. Each of these inner layers are coated in aluminium for protection and laquer before being squeezed together into a single disc and cured under UV light. A semi-reflective gold layer is used on the outside to allow all the individual layers to be read by the DVD player’s laser.
How many CDs and DVDs do we use?
In 2005 UK customers bought 172.6 million CDs and 8.3 million DVDs. However this just accounts for full format music related discs.
Although US sales of CDs have dropped 20% in the last year, according to research by Nielson Soundscan US customers bought 89 million CDs in the first 3 months of this year. Annual total US CD sales reaches around 1 billion.
Add to these figures the number of non-music CDs and DVDs purchased for personal or commercial data storage plus movies and pc software and you have an astonishing amount of plastic and metal, data coated discs floating around!
According to Worldwatch, more than 45 tons of CDs alone become obsolete every month.
Why recycle your CDs and DVDs?
Due to their various compositions of polycarbonate, aluminium, acrylic laquer, silver nickel and gold CDs and DVDs are by no means biodegradable and do not break down easily when sent to landfill. When incinerated they produce toxic fumes.
The first stage in avoiding contributing to the environmental hazards of CDs and DVDs is to reduce usage. This can be done by using re-writeable discs rather than simply purchasing new ones. Purchasing music by other digital means that less waste is produced - e.g. MP3 format. However, this is not a solution in itself as electronic devices are often used to play and store this data. Careful consideration needs to be given to how these players are disposed of at the end of their usable life and whether they can be recycled by the manufacturers.
The next step is to reuse discs when they are no longer needed or wanted. This may involve donating them to friends or a local library, selling to other users, or simply finding another use for them - e.g. turning into coasters, mobiles or other decorative purposes.
If we cannot re-use CDs and DVDs ourselves sending them to one of the growing companies that recycles them is a great solution. Companies such as Polymer Reprocessors in Lancashire will break down the discs removing the paint, data and aluminium to use as electrical cable insulation and reprocess the polycarbonate for use in products such as lenses and street lighting.
And, of course, unwanted CDs and DVDs can be sent to RecyclingCDs to turn into beautiful unique recycled clocks.
Fill in the form on our home page to send your CDs to us.
What is the future for CDs and DVDs?
The good news for disc environmental sustainability is that new formats and methods of production are being developed. In conjunction with Nature Works, Sanyo is producing ‘MildDiscs’ made from corn - apparently it take one ear of corn to produce 10 CDs! Meanwhile Sony have developed the ‘Blue Ray’ disc which is made from 51% paper! It is reported to be able to store about ½ the amount of data as a pc hard drive and yet it can be cut with scissors!