The Audio Experiments of Jeff Danos

Disposing of Discs?

Filed Under:
Shattered Discs

Does anyone know of a good way to dispose of old discs? I've got a HUGE stack of old CD-R's from the last seven or eight years that I am in the process of trashing and I figured that it is in my best interest to destroy the data on them prior to tossing them out.

I've always been good at making backup discs of my work. In fact, maybe too good. I've managed to go through all of them and copy everything over to DVD-R, thereby taking up much less physical storage space. But now I need to dispose of them and I want the data to be inaccessible to the garbage man or anyone else who might feel the need to raid my trash. Not that I've got lots of valuable data on them, or that anyone would actually raid my trash, but I don't need my old working files floating around in the local landfill.

In the past, I've destroyed one-off discs by snapping them in half or cutting them with a scissors. But in this case, I've got hundreds that I would like to get rid of at once.

My first idea was to use one of those industrial strength shredders that can shred discs, but they always seem to get jammed, and I doubt that they would survive a session of 300 to 400 discs. My next idea seemed like it would work, but turned out to be a little dangerous. I left the discs on the spindle, and took a power drill to them. Halfway through the stack, the discs caught on the drill bit, the spindle flew out of my hands, and CD-R's went flying in every direction, ricocheting off the walls of my garage. This took care of about thirty discs, and I'm lucky that nobody lost an eye.

Then I tried taking the discs and just snapping them in half, one by one. This took forever and I was getting metallic data flakes all over the place. I tried hammering a nail through a stack of them, but the nail got stuck and I had to pry them apart by hand. I took out a handsaw and tried to saw through them, but I didn't have a table vice to hold them properly. I considered burning them, but who knows what kind of noxious gases that would give off?

My final solution was to take a small tool used for opening paint buckets and scraping a good portion of the surface off of each disc. It also took quite a while, but I got through about a hundred of them. So does anyone have any other suggestions on how to dispose of old discs quickly and safely while also rendering their data inaccessible? I'm all ears.


You could try leaving them in a hot place - I think that would warp 'em. You could put them under a hot lamp in the garage or something and let that melt some of them. Put 'em in the over, perhaps, and bake the suckers...

If not... maybe throwing them in the driveway and backing over them a few times would do the trick... just fill a bag and go to town. Otherwise, maybe taking them to the dump yourself and asking that they be thrown in a compactor right there while you wait.

Conversely, contacting an industrial shredding company could work. Might not be TOO expensive and they have enough non-disclosure stuff in place to protect you in the event that someone MIGHT see something... though they're trained to just throw EVERYTHING in a shredder and be done with it.

how about sand paper? or a

how about sand paper? or a hammer? spending an afternoon smashing cds sounds like fun to me

RSS Feed