The Compact Disc became commercially available in 1982. Originally CDs were used for storing audio data, but with the advancement of DVD (Digital Versatile Discs) and CD-ROMs (Compact Disc read-only memory); these plastic discs can now be used for storing computer software, games, and films. More recently, Blu-ray discs have been developed as the successor to DVDs.
Why recycle CDs and DVDs?
Every year in the UK over 130 million CDs are sold.
CDs and DVDs encompass a variety of materials such as polycarbonate and aluminium and paint. Their cases are either plastic jewel cases or paper cases and most jewel cases will also contain paper inserts.
All of these materials, if buried in landfill, not only become ‘lost’ resources but have the potential to pose a significant environmental impact and take a long time to decompose.
Recycling makes environmental and economic sense. Recycling reduces the need for raw materials and using recycled products requires less energy in the manufacturing process.
Plastics for example are derived from crude oil, a limited fossil fuel, so by recycling discs and their cases this can help contribute to lower oil consumption, preserving stocks for longer.
How are they recycled?
Once collected from the recycling bank, the discs are sent to Polymer Recycling to be recycled. The cases are removed along with any paper inserts. All paper is baled, sent to paper mills and recycled into more paper products.
The jewel cases are granulated and any contaminants removed. The left over plastic granules are then recycled into various plastic products such as more CD cases.
The discs themselves go through a special process, unique to Polymer Recycling, removing paint, aluminium and data. The recovered aluminium is reused as an insulation material.
The ‘cleaned’ discs are then granulated, blended and compounded into a high quality polycarbonate for further use in injection moulded applications such as burglar alarm covers.
The whole process at Polymer Recycling is carried out without chemicals and in a totally secure environment.