Recycling CDs And Creating Ewaste Art & Design

This post is part of Global Wire Associates’ Recharge E-Waste Campaign.

With the growing number of people using MP3 players and smartphones to listen to music, compact discs (CDs) have become the latest casualty of the digital age.  So, what can you do with all the CDs collecting dust next to the useless CD player?

First, if you haven’t digitized your CDs yet, maybe now is a good time to do it.  Once they are digitized, don’t throw them away in the trash.  Find the nearest recycling center to take your CDs, DVDs, optical discs, jewel cases (and CD and DVD players) to through the CD Recycling Center of America.  You can also ship your discs to Greendisk, where they will “safely and securely destroy your old data, recover reusable components, and recycle all of the rest of your accumulated technotrash.”

If you have an artist’s eye, there are many ways to reuse discs, like making flower arrangements, or a disco ball or arranging the CDs in a stack with LEDs to create a lamp.  You can even make an iPhone charging dock with CDs.

We might even try out this idea around Christmas!

Australian illustrator and writer Sean E. Avery has become an innovator in using e-waste for art.  In recent years, he has been lauded for using old CDs to make animal figures, like the one in the above photo.  He was asked recently how he got interested in this art form.

…I’ve always been fascinated in junk materials, especially old tech and the way something that was so modern to me once can be obsolete trash a few years later. I’m not really the biggest environmentalist in the world, but I get a kick out of turning the unwanted into something beautiful. My mum is sculptor, so I’ve been making stuff ever since I was really little.

Your sculptures are very intricate. On average how long does it take for you to make one piece?
I don’t like spending more than a week on piece or I get bored of it, so I try to only take on projects that last for that long…

What is your latest project?
A VERY big dragon sculpture for a new Ripleys Believe It Or Not museum that’s opening up in Baltimore, USA. The beast will have a 2 metre wingspan and be suspended in the air.

What advice would you give to average folks who want to tap into their creative side?
Baby steps! Take it slow and keep practicing! Let your artistic flare come out naturally and work in mediums that you are comfortable with and feel passionate about…

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