Don’t pitch ’em: Old CDs can be recycled into all sorts of eye-catching products.
It has happened across the globe and certainly in our very own households: thermoplastic polymer has officially reached maximum saturation. Not familiar with it? Sure you are. It’s that rigid, waterproof, durable, petroleum-based material (also known as polycarbonate, plastic #7 or “other” plastic) that reigns supreme as modern society’s preferred form of data storage. If you’re a fan of music or home movies, then there are probably hundreds of shiny mirrored discs competing for precious real estate in your turf, some of which, for one reason or another, are no longer usable or desirable. They may be perfectly proportioned to fling effortlessly into the closest garbage can, but old CDs and DVDs are not doing our environment any favors. Their polycarbonate structure is achieved through the use of bisphenol A, the notorious endocrine-disrupting chemical that has raised so many red flags recently that the EPA is currently in the process of assessing how it affects the natural world at large. What we do know so far is that the chemical has already infiltrated our oceans — not a terribly good sign of things to come. Want to help the environment while having a bit of creative fun? The following are great ways to jumpstart your own personal compact disc recycling efforts.
- Give an old pair of heels or a scuffed pair of flats a seriously edgy, hyper-reflective facelift.
- Wake up a tired, old jacket or pair of pants with a sea of CD shards.
- Adorn your wrist, neck and earlobes with bubble-studded, ice-cream-tinted baubles.
- Dress up a coat lapel with a bodaciously feminine floral pin.
- Tote basic essentials in a petite, musically inspired purse.
Arts and crafts
- Showy recycled plastic, CD-crafted blooms are just a quickie craft project away.
- Use an old compact disc as an infinitely reusable paint palette.
- Store fresh fruit in several luminous round bowls or odds and ends in triangular-shaped catchalls.
- Place a small gift inside a recycled CD box.
- Create an individual, free-hanging mandala studded with seeds and spices or dried wildflowers, a multiclustered mandala accented with sequins and buttons or an elaborate fabric and yarn woven version that can be tacked to a wall.
- Reciclado Artistico has made a splash with its continuing series of sculptural fish, resplendent in recycled CD scales, while Sean Avery has created an entire menagerie of dazzlingly diverse species. Allow their creative artistry to inspire your very own recycled compact disc sculpture!
- Store your CD jewel cases in a DIY rack made of old compact discs. How appropriate!
- Make a cell phone holster.
- Recharge your iPhone via an easy-to-assemble recycled CD docking station.
- Convert your dining room table into a CD-paved wonder for an impromptu game of table hockey.
- Enhance your physical fitness with a set of DIY exercise weights.
- Make playing card holders.
- Add an extra measure of protection during nighttime bicycle rides with recycled CD reflectors. Anchoring them to wheel spokes will also work quite nicely.
- Resurface the entire exterior of a weather-beaten-but still-peppy automobile.
- Stud your motorcycle or bicycle helmet with old compact discs that are cut into neat and tidy tiles.
- When traditional asphalt or clay roof tiles just won’t do, crown your humble abode with a show-stopping, jaw-dropping layer of simple-to-install CD tiles.
- Reflective garden décor will not only offer visual appeal, but it will also discourage birds and other hungry visitors from haphazardly feasting on the fruits of your labor!
- Summertime barbecuing is a time-honored ritual, but by crafting this solar-powered CD-studded stove, you’ll be able to cook up a feast with a much smaller carbon footprint!
- There are countless ways to upgrade an old chair, but I bet you’ve never tried giving one the recycled compact disc mosaic treatment before.
- Organize your wardrobe with closet dividers that can be personalized in myriad ways using magazine images, fabric scraps, etc.
- Create a prismatic pendulum light shade that will cast an ethereal glow on the room below.
- String hundreds of old CDs together to create a dramatic overhead chandelier or a whimsical cascading spiral chandelier.
- By applying a bit of heat, a single compact disc can take on new life as an elegant-looking votive candleholder or stack one on top of another for twice the glow.
- Decorate a window with a prismatic CD- and bead-studded curtain.
- Transform old CDs into faux vintage wall clocks or geek-pleasing techie versions.
- Wallpaper adds visual interest to any room, but by covering plain walls with old compact discs, you’ll create décor va-va-voom!
- Hang a mini or maxi disco ball from the middle of a window frame or ceiling for a dazzling, energy-free light show.