Floppy disks are pieces of outdated technology, but you can still find them in many households and businesses.
You may have a stack of these once-popular storage devices collecting dust in your attic or basement, and it’s essential to know how to dispose of them correctly.
The problem with floppy disks is that their magnetic coating degrades over time and becomes unreadable by both humans and machines alike.
This degradation leaves you with a disk containing obsolete files that cannot be accessed anymore, even if you try your best to repair them.
Different Methods to Dispose of Floppy Disks
There are several methods to safely dispose of floppy disks, including recycling centers, e-waste programs, and company-specific programs.
Luckily there are a few ways to recycle your floppy disk so that it will not go to waste.
Several recycling centers worldwide take in old floppy disks for money, and environmental conservation efforts or give them away for free, depending on their policy.
Many companies even have an online application process to accept applications from individuals who want brand new media to write data onto.
To use these services, you must send your floppy disks via postal service, as many of the sites only provide shipping information because they don’t pick up your shipment from you.
Sending your old floppy disks to recycling centers is such a good option because it certainly helps the environment.
You might even get a small reward for your floppy disks, depending on where you go.
Some recycling centers even have a website or Facebook page so that you can check out their policies and how to properly prepare your floppy disks before sending them off.
Also read: What to Do With Old Headphones?
Another way to recycle your floppy disks is to take them to any store that has an e-waste drop-off.
These are usually part of national recycling programs set up by companies such as Staples, Best Buy, and Office Depot.
After dropping off all your electronics for free or at a low cost, they will give you a receipt with instructions on what to do with your floppy disks.
In addition, most e-waste facilities provide instructions either online or in the store itself on how to mail your floppy disk using your shipping label.
Of course, the most important thing here is to pack it well so that it doesn’t get damaged during transport.
However, most places won’t do anything if it arrives slightly damaged because they can still use or recycle them, even if they were severely beaten up during transit.
Also read: How to Dispose of Hard Drives?
Instead of throwing floppy disks away, you can opt for environmentally friendly alternatives like using Greendisk services.
By sending your old floppy disks to Greendisk, you’re reducing waste and helping the environment.
Also read: How to Dispose of Cassette Tapes
Repurposing Floppy Disks (Craft)
Creating a small craft out of your floppy disk is one way to recycle your old floppy disks instead of just throwing them in the garbage.
By turning them into crafts, you can keep their contents as a memory or as decoration. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
You can make pencil holders by using a wood base and creating grooves in the surface to hold each disk vertically (so that the label is visible).
This lets you stack them on top of each other.
The way you do this is to glue each floppy disk to the base from bottom to top so that the label is visible.
Once you’ve glued them all together, you can spray-paint the entire holder with a color of your choice.
You can also make pencil holders by gluing floppy disks together until you have a large circular disk and then painting it.
These are similar to pencil holders, but they aren’t as functional.
By caving out chunks from each floppy disk, you can make a plaque hanging on the wall.
This technique allows you to store memorabilia, store flat disks vertically, or create a unique decoration out of your floppy disks.
If you have a floppy disk that contains important data, you can create a memory box or smaller decoration out of it.
You can do this by carving the label off the top and gluing it onto either wood or metal for storage purposes.
You can make a small stand for it by carving out a hole from the middle and gluing it onto an even smaller stick for decoration.
You can also use floppy disks to store small items like paper clips or push pins that you don’t want lying about on your desk.
Simply create a groove in the middle of the disk and tie it to your keychain so that you can keep your most valuable objects handy at all times.
By taking apart one or two floppy disks, you can create a card case for yourself that will be nearly indestructible.
All you need to do is cut out the metal in between each disk and then put the top and bottom halves together (with no middle section).
This way, you can keep your credit cards safe in case of theft or damage. You could also craft several smaller ones to store in your wallet if this isn’t something that interests you.
Make a stand using either a CD case or some old CDs, and place your floppy disks inside for decoration.
This craft idea is especially useful if you have many disks – just make sure they don’t bend when holding anything particularly heavy because they will become unbalanced and fall over.
Also read: How to Dispose Of CDs and DVDs?
By placing a few disks on a keychain, you can keep them safe and close to hand whenever you need one.
To do this, drill a hole through the entire disk and glue it onto your keyring so that they are easy to access.
Putting a key on a keychain made of one or more floppy disks reminds me of what teachers would do when I was a kid.
They would tape their keys to the wooden cabinets or big wooden blocks in school.
That way, the teachers wouldn’t lose their keys, and students wouldn’t run off with them when they needed them for the restroom.
If you don’t like the sound of most of these methods, there is always the option of hanging your floppy disks up as decoration (or using it to replace an ornament that has broken).
You can do this by creating a hole in each disk and then gluing or sewing them onto a piece of material to make a banner.
If you don’t want to hang them, you could also gather several disks and create an ornament out of them by gluing or nailing them together.
I’m sure your parents would love a floppy disk Christmas ornament to remind them of their old computer days!
You can also use old floppy disks as bookmarks in your favorite book that you’re reading.
Simply take the floppy disk, paint it whatever color makes you the happiest, and then use the bookmark to mark the pages in the book you’re reading.
One cool thing about this idea is that when you get bored with the bookmark, you can simply spray paint it a different color or put a different design on it.
Some people will change their bookmark to reflect the book that they’re reading at a particular time. With recycled floppy disks, this is super easy to do.
Also read: How To Dispose Of Computer Monitors?
Before Getting Rid of Your Floppy Disk (Data Security)
When it comes to disposing of floppy disks, it’s important to consider data security concerns.
Floppy disks may contain sensitive information that you want to protect from unauthorized access.
In this section, we’ll discuss two methods to ensure your sensitive data is securely disposed of: Formatting and Erasing, and Physical Destruction.
Formatting and Erasing
Before getting rid of your floppy disk, remember that there are likely data still on the disk, so you’ll want to make sure you get rid of it first.
The best way to do this is to erase the disks using special software.
You can get into your computer, open up a program like “My Computer” (on Windows), and select the floppy disk option.
From there, you should see several options such as “format” (which will delete everything on the disk), “copy” (which allows you to create a file on another disk), or “properties.”
The properties tab will give you information about the size of the floppy disk, how much space it contains, and other essential details.
Once you’ve gotten rid of all data from each disk, you are free to dispose of them however you’d like.
Physical Destruction of Floppy Disks
After formatting and erasing the data on your floppy disks, the next step is to physically destroy them.
Physical destruction ensures that no one can access your sensitive information even if they manage to recover the data from the formatted disk.
Here are some methods for physically destroying floppy disks:
- Shredding: Use a shredder that is specifically designed to handle floppy disks (not just paper). Running the floppy disk through the shredder will cut the disk into small pieces, ensuring the data cannot be recovered.
- Disintegration: You can also use a commercial disk grinding device to remove the information-bearing layers of the floppy disk. This method reduces the chances of unauthorized data recovery.
- Incineration: As a last resort, you can burn the floppy disks in a licensed incinerator to reduce them to ash. This method ensures the complete destruction of any data stored on the disk.
Finally, you could use a magnet to wipe all traces of data from your floppy disks. This is easy to do and only requires a regular magnet that you can find at any local store.
Just get one of the floppy disks and run the magnet over it several times until there are no signs of data on the disk anymore.
Also read: How to Dispose of a Computer Keyboard?
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some common queries people have about disposing of and recycling floppy disks.
Can floppy disks be shredded for disposal?
Floppy disks can be shredded for disposal, but it is essential to use a shredder compatible with floppy disks or a specialized shredding service. This will ensure that the materials are shredded properly and safely.
What businesses accept floppy disks for recycling?
Some businesses, such as FloppyDisk.com, accept floppy disks for recycling. Before sending your disks to such companies, it’s necessary to check their recycling policies and fees. Your local e-waste recycling facility may also accept floppy disks.
How does bulk erasing affect floppy disk data?
Bulk erasing involves using a strong magnetic force to remove data from a floppy disk. This process can effectively wipe the data, but it’s crucial to employ a quality bulk eraser and follow proper procedures. Be aware that some data remnants may still be retrievable by experts.
Are there any creative or useful repurposing ideas for old floppy disks?
Old floppy disks can be repurposed in various ways. One common idea is to create coasters by gluing fabric or felt to the non-label side of the disks. They can also be used as small storage containers by attaching a hinge and latch, or even to make creative wall art. Remember to remove any sensitive data before repurposing your floppy disks.
Other articles you may also like: