How can I reuse or recycle floppy discs?

Floppy discRemember when 1.44MB seemed like all the storage space you’d ever need? And then later on, when games came spread across 8 of them, meaning your heroic rescue of Sophia from the evil Nazis is interrupted while you change to disc five? And how it was so easy for the discs to corrupt if they got within a 14mile radius of a magnetic field? And how it took about half an hour to load and save to them?

Yes, we remember them so, so fondly. And have a giant stack of them to get rid of.

Any ideas?

Best Suggestions

  • Reduce: Use a USB key instead where possible.
  • Reuse: Use them to make retro notepad covers, desktidies or bags.
  • See the comments below for more suggestions and ideas

(Photo by Andrew H, c/o sxc.hu)
(We’ve been so lazy on the photo front recently. Tsk, us).

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64 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle floppy discs?”


  1. sarar says:

    I still use mine! But yes, they are a pain if you want to save anything like photos. I should really get a USB stick or something – but it seems such a waste… I wonder if I can make one out of old household waste? ;-)

    SaraR

    • Danny says:

      Dude, get a USB stick. They don’t cost all that much. You will need it or larger amounts of storage. For smaller amounts of storage, you can continue to use the floppies until they’re all worn out.

  2. MrFlibble says:

    Don’t junk them, combine them = http://ohlssonvox.8k.com/fdd_raid.htm

  3. Ashley says:

    I agree with the raid array idea, but that many individual floppy drives is expensive and bulky. On the up-side, the elements in your array are hot-swappable, so every 3 or 4 days when you have a drive fail, you can simply eject the media and replace it with a new one. ;-)

    I vote build them into a giant pyramid and sell them on ebay. Either that or some kind of decorative wall hanging.

  4. TheMatt says:

    You can turn 5 and 8-inchers into all sorts of useful stuff. The 3.5s? Hmm… All I ever did with them is make little Enterprises and Birds of Prey. I bet those pages are still around the internets.

  5. Flash says:

    How about making plate armour…? sure won’t stop bullets, but it’ll slow ‘em down..

  6. Robbie Mosaic says:

    I now use both a USB drive and floppy disks. Of course, with the coming of the USB drive, usage of floppy disks is much more infrequent. However, floppy disks are interesting to use, because they are still mechanic, unlike all-electronic devices that give no sound even on errors. I sometimes use floppy disks to copy small files, or use them to store short notes that I make at home and do at work.

  7. ed says:

    Why cant the head of the drive become small enough to add tracks to the surface of the disk, surely we could fit more on them!

    I think if you take a drill to the corner of the 720 disk you can easily format to 1.44MiB, and there’s programs out there to use the 20% thats there for bad sectors, so i’ve put 1.9MiB on a 1.44 in the past, and 1MiB on a 720 :)

  8. anykey says:

    I’ve got several hundred stored in a box in the garage. I cannot throw them away – they were part of my life for so many years – but who wants them now..?? :O(

  9. xaque says:

    i’ve been wondering about this too… i sometimes use a couple as wedges to balance chairs and things like that, but i’ve still got a few hundred left over.

  10. type2 says:

    Sell them on Ebay…

  11. mia says:

    I saw somewhere a bird feeder made from floppy discs. I don’t have any floppies anymore so I didn’t take note of the address. Perhaps a google would throw some light on it?

    • louisa says:

      I tried googling but didn’t come up with anything – but I *did* find a link showing you how to make a square desk-tidy out of five old discs. (link)

      As well as using it for pens, you could use it for holding scrap paper torn up into squares for using instead of post-its.

      -louisa

  12. TheShadow says:

    Got a Shotgun? Try SkeetShooting” Instead if using Clay birds,Use Floppy Disks and old AOL CDs and have a “Blast”.

  13. TheShadow says:

    Is it Possible to record music on them as Singles as like the old 45RPM records? If so,how can this be done? I dont have a CD burner on this thing,so I got to use what I’ve got,a Heck of alot of Floppy dics.Please Help

  14. Agar says:

    Give them to someone that will use them. There are many african countries that recieve used PCs, why not send them floppies too ?

  15. martin says:

    If you have DD ie double density floppies you could ebay them as amiga computers used to use them alot. The retro/amiga scene is growing but theres a lack of DD flopies!

    Hd floppies i dont know

  16. ozzy says:

    i stuck min to the wall and use it a as a notice board just tuck noti under the metal bit ps it looks dame cool

  17. Corinna says:

    The only thing I can think of is taking them apart (gently), then you can dispose of plastic and metal seperately. I throw the inner part with the data in the general waste.

  18. Phil says:

    The rigid case of 3.5inch floppies is polystyrene (at least the ones I have are).

    Does anyone know of a processer who takes PS on a non-industrial scale?

  19. zhen says:

    Does anyone know if there is any recycling company that recycles Floppy diskettes??

    currently i m doing my final year project on recycling and reduction of diskettes.. but i cant find any good web that shows company recycles them….

  20. Cnawan says:

    If you have a camera that is sensitive to infra-red, you can use them to make a lens cap for IR photos. (exposed film is also good).

  21. Delusion says:

    http://www.pc-recycling.com/ Do recycle them for the public! there is a charge but at least they are recycled! :)

  22. Amber says:

    Glue them together in a stack and use them as a paperweight. I’ve also seen people make notepads out of them. The paper inside the notepads was cut from the back of used envelopes. The front and back of the notepad were floppy disks. To attach them, use a drill or Dremmel to drill a hole through the upper left corner of the disks and pages inside, then attach them together with a round metal keychain ring.

  23. Teri says:

    Old floppy discs and VCR tapes can be donated. Check out actrecycling.org!

  24. an alleweireldt says:

    If you still have a lot of them I would be very grateful if you could send them to me as I make jewellery out of them. It’s a waste to buy new ones as everyone is throwing their old ones away..

    An

  25. Anabela says:

    Hi an alleweireldt,

    Give me your address and I’ll send som floppy disks to you. My email anabela_araujo@hotmail.com

  26. Ronda from Australia says:

    I had a surprize party for my husband when he turned the big 50. We used Lp’s but you could use disc”as well.
    Who ever the birthday person favourite music artist is ,eg Elvis,print out small pictures of Elvis to cover the centre leaving some black edge of the disc.Glue to the centre of the disc and have then around the walls, Table or where ever. Or you can print the birthday invitation and glue onto one side, covering the whole disc.This was a novel idea , instead of the same old invitations,but we glued a magnet on the back so people would know there was nothing recorded on them to listen to and they put them on their fridge and they could be reminded of the party every time they went to the fridge

  27. Ruti says:

    I need floppy discs by the end of Feb for my students, as we are doing some re-cycled crafts. If you can help, e-mail tutorial.bookings@loucoll.ac.uk and put ‘INFO for Thomas – green week’ in the header.

    Thanks

    • Ruti says:

      THANK YOU to everyone who has sent me stuff – we now have lots. We are going to use cable ties, to make them into desk pots.

  28. Tony says:

    Actually, I still have to use them :(

    I’ve got a program that will only operate on an Atari ST, and thus have a ‘proper use for the ancient Double Density floppies!

    • Ann says:

      We have many new and used 3.5 high density floppies that we are trying to get rid of. Are you interested?

  29. Jeff says:

    Floppy disks are not used much these days and have mostly be replaced by USB sticks.

  30. Ruti says:

    We drilled holes in them and made them into cube shaped pen pots using cable ties. Look good.

  31. DAVID says:

    There is a femail hacker that has done this but her name escapes me if you really want to try this then have a look on utube after enter audio recording on floppy discs.

  32. Ian Radcliffe says:

    Have a look at http://www.instructables.com for loads of ideas for recycling floppy discs and lots of other things too!

  33. John Pring says:

    I’ve had ENOUGH!!! ALL the “Recycling” companies Charge you to Recycle Media! I’m starting a MEDIA RECYCLING PROJECT in Oxfordshire because I’ve got 100’s of disks I’ve used over the years and I don’t want to put them into the Landfill so if you live in or around Oxfordshire… Watch this space for more info or drop me an e-mail!

    John P

    stickyman4@gmail.com

  34. Neel Chauhan says:

    Broken floppy disks can be reused for art only.
    I still use floppy disks for experiments only. My new PC has none but I use a USB drive and it’s next to my speakers.

    • John Pring says:

      Floppy disks of any size or condition CAN be recycled, the body of the floppy is polystyrene (HIPS), the slide is aluminium, the spring and centre is stainless steel. The other bits, the cloth & magnetic media can’t be recycled YET but there are a couple of companies working on it (3M being one of them!)

      BUT they are very useful for art too!

      John Pring
      Coordinator
      Media Recycling Project

  35. lise says:

    Hi
    I saw a scrapbooking special that ties a bunch together by the corner , glue pictures on each and make a fabulous little souvenir album

  36. Anne says:

    Floppy disk notebooks :D

  37. Tyler Smith says:

    What should I do with the water I use to wash of my paint brushes?

  38. John Pring says:

    Dear Recyclers

    Due to ill health and increased disability, it is with regret, I have to inform you the Media Recycling Project is unable to continue. It is not a decision I have taken lightly!

    I have tried to find someone to take on the running of the project without success! I am also trying to find a company who will take the media items for free!

    I would like to thank you all personally for your interest in the project.

    Regards

    John Pring

  39. bill says:

    my son makes guitar picks out of the slide cover. cuts them with tin snips and takes rough edges off with fine files

  40. Carol Hale says:

    How about using the floppies to make cool Christmas trees or photo garlands? Use styroform tree as a base for tree? I’ve got plenty to give away if anyone wants them and will pay shipping costs.

  41. Annie says:

    Make a cup for pencil, a note pad or even flowers, you just have to take out the disk from inside and make 4 or 5 cuts from the center to the side, and ta-da you have a nice flower, i have made a cup and maaany flowers, its easy :)

  42. robin says:

    I am after Floppy disks! I am a London based Artist collecting floppy disks for a new series of sculptural works using redundant technologies.

    I’m also on the scrounge for large quantities of vhs video tapes, circuit boards and old computer type stuff. – email me for further info and to arrange collection.

    robino81@hotmail.co.uk

    • Gordon Hubbard says:

      I have many vhs tapes that I would be happy to send to you for only the cost of shipping. I live on the west coast so hopefully that is not a problem. Let me know if this would work out for you.
      Gordon

    • Colin Bell says:

      Hi

      I have a number of 3.5″ Diskettes and a number of VHS and Audio Cassette Tapes.

      Please email me on bell.maytas@tiscali.co.uk.

      I come up to London reasonably regularly …

  43. hockeyfan says:

    I found this article interesting, it appears the author used old floppy disks to make a pen holder, very creative.

    http://feelthefunk.com/past_posts.php?sid=144

  44. Alena says:

    Attach fresh self adhesive label with grocery list written on it every time you go shopping. The list will not get scrunched in a purse and is less likely to get lost in it’s debrees.

  45. Alena says:

    Adhere bright labels to the floppy, or even photos, drill mini hall in a corner and carry as key chain. What are the chances you will ever have hard time finding your keys?


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