From Recycling to Selling: The Ultimate Guide to Floppy Disk Disposal

January 24, 2023 in environment, recycling

Article summary and Key takeaways: Floppy disks were once popular portable storage devices but became obsolete with advancements in technology. Recycling electronic waste, including floppy disks, is important to prevent environmental and health risks, conserve resources, and reduce landfill space. Floppy disks can be recycled through local recycling centers, retailers, or online programs. Selling old floppy disks can be done through online marketplaces or vintage computer stores. Secure disposal methods include shredding or degaussing. Proper disposal is necessary to prevent environmental contamination. Floppy disks hold value for collectors and historians. While floppy disks may no longer be relevant, their impact on technology should be acknowledged.

Brief History of Floppy Disks

Floppy disks, also known as diskettes, were once a popular form of portable storage for computers. They were first introduced in the late 1960s and became widely used throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Floppy disks revolutionized the way data was stored and transferred, providing a convenient means for users to save and share files.

At their peak, floppy disks came in a variety of sizes and capacities, with the most common being the 3.5-inch diskette that could hold 1.44 megabytes of data. However, with the rapid advancements in technology, floppy disks quickly became obsolete. The rise of compact discs, USB drives, and cloud storage rendered floppy disks largely unnecessary.

Importance of Recycling Electronic Waste

The rapid pace of technological advancement has resulted in the accumulation of electronic waste, or e-waste, at an alarming rate. E-waste includes obsolete electronic devices such as computers, smartphones, and yes, floppy disks. Recycling e-waste is crucial for several reasons.

Firstly, e-waste contains hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, and cadmium that can pose significant risks to the environment and human health if not disposed of properly. By recycling e-waste, these harmful substances can be safely extracted and disposed of, preventing them from contaminating landfills or being released into the air or water.

Secondly, recycling e-waste helps conserve valuable resources such as precious metals, plastics, and rare earth elements. These resources are often extracted through destructive mining practices, which can have devastating environmental impacts. By recycling e-waste, we can reduce the demand for new raw materials and lessen the strain on our planet’s resources.

Lastly, recycling e-waste reduces the need for landfill space. Electronic devices take up valuable space in landfills and can take hundreds of years to decompose. By recycling these devices, we can extend their lifespan and minimize the amount of waste sent to landfills.

Can You Recycle Floppy Disks?

Now that we understand the importance of recycling electronic waste, let’s delve into the question at hand: Can you recycle floppy disks?

Explanation of the Recycling Process for Floppy Disks

The recycling process for floppy disks typically involves a series of steps to ensure the safe and efficient handling of the materials.

Firstly, the floppy disks are collected and sorted at a recycling facility. The outer plastic casing of the diskettes is usually made of a type of plastic known as polystyrene, which can be recycled. The metallic film inside the disks, which stores the data, is made of aluminum, which can also be recycled.

Once the disks are sorted, they are shredded into small pieces. The plastic and aluminum are then separated using a combination of mechanical and chemical processes. The plastic is melted down and processed into pellets, which can be used to create new plastic products. The aluminum is melted down and reused to make new aluminum products.

Availability of Recycling Options for Floppy Disks

The good news is that there are various options available for recycling floppy disks. Let’s explore some of these options:

1. Local Recycling Centers

Local recycling centers often accept electronic waste, including floppy disks. These facilities are equipped to handle the proper recycling and disposal of electronic devices. To find a local recycling center that accepts floppy disks, you can check with your city or county’s waste management department or use online resources such as Earth911.

2. Retailers That Accept Floppy Disks for Recycling

Several retailers have programs in place to collect and recycle electronic waste, including floppy disks. These programs aim to provide convenient options for consumers to responsibly dispose of their old electronic devices. Here are a few retailers that accept floppy disks for recycling:


Staples offers a recycling program called Staples EasyTech Trade-In & Recycling, which allows customers to bring in their old electronics, including floppy disks, for recycling. They accept a wide range of electronic devices, making it a convenient option for many.

Best Buy:

Best Buy has a recycling program called Best Buy Recycling, which accepts a variety of electronic devices, including floppy disks. They have drop-off boxes at many of their stores, making it easy for customers to recycle their old technology.

Other Potential Retailers:

It’s worth checking with other retailers in your area, such as office supply stores or computer stores, to see if they have recycling programs in place for electronic waste. While not all retailers may accept floppy disks specifically, they may still accept other electronic devices or provide alternative recycling options.

3. Online Recycling Programs

There are also online recycling programs that allow you to mail in your electronic waste, including floppy disks, for recycling. These programs provide a convenient option for those who may not have access to local recycling centers or retailers that accept floppy disks.

One example is the TerraCycle recycling program, which partners with various companies to provide free recycling solutions for hard-to-recycle items, including floppy disks. Through this program, you can request a prepaid shipping label and mail your floppy disks to be recycled.

Where to Recycle Floppy Disks

Researching Local Recycling Centers

If you prefer to recycle your floppy disks locally, it’s important to research and find recycling centers near you. Start by checking with your city or county’s waste management department, as they often have information on local recycling options. You can also use online resources such as Earth911 or to find recycling centers in your area.

Retailers That Accept Floppy Disks for Recycling


A quick search on the Staples website can provide information on their recycling program and whether or not they accept floppy disks. You can also contact your local Staples store directly to inquire about their recycling policies and services.

Best Buy

Best Buy’s website provides detailed information about their recycling program, including the types of electronic devices they accept. You can use their store locator tool to find a Best Buy store near you and inquire about their floppy disk recycling services.

Other Potential Retailers

For other potential retailers, it’s best to contact them directly to inquire about their recycling programs and whether or not they accept floppy disks. Keep in mind that not all retailers may offer specific recycling options for floppy disks, but they may still accept other electronic devices or provide alternative recycling solutions.

Selling Floppy Disks

Determining the Value of Old Floppy Disks

If you have a collection of old floppy disks and are curious about their value, there are a few factors to consider. The value of old floppy disks can vary depending on their rarity, condition, and demand among collectors.

Some vintage computer enthusiasts may be interested in acquiring old floppy disks for nostalgic or historical purposes. However, keep in mind that the value of floppy disks has significantly decreased over the years due to their obsolescence.

Platforms for Selling Floppy Disks

1. Online Marketplaces

Online marketplaces such as eBay or Etsy can be a good platform to sell old floppy disks. These platforms allow you to reach a wide audience of potential buyers and set your own prices. Be sure to accurately describe the condition of the floppy disks and provide clear photos to attract potential buyers.

2. Vintage Computer Stores

Another option is to reach out to vintage computer stores that specialize in buying and selling old computer hardware and software. These stores may be interested in purchasing your old floppy disks, particularly if they cater to collectors or enthusiasts seeking vintage technology.

Disposing of Old Floppy Disks

Secure Disposal Methods

1. Shredding

One secure disposal method for old floppy disks is shredding. Shredding the disks ensures that the data stored on them is completely destroyed and cannot be recovered. You can often find local shredding services that specialize in electronic media destruction.

2. Degaussing

Degaussing is another secure method of disposing of old floppy disks. Degaussing involves using a powerful magnet to erase the magnetic data stored on the disks, rendering them unreadable and unrecoverable. However, it’s important to note that degaussing may not be as effective on newer high-density floppy disks.

Proper Disposal of Floppy Disks

It’s essential to properly dispose of old floppy disks to prevent them from ending up in landfills. Floppy disks should not be thrown in the regular trash, as they contain plastic and metallic components that can be recycled.

If you are unable to recycle your floppy disks through a local recycling center or retailer, consider using online recycling programs such as the TerraCycle program mentioned earlier. These programs ensure that the disks are recycled responsibly and do not end up in landfills.

Common Questions and Concerns

Can a Magnet Erase a Floppy Disk?

Yes, a magnet can erase the data stored on a floppy disk. The metallic film inside the disks is sensitive to magnetic fields, and a strong enough magnet can erase the data, rendering the disk unreadable.

What Not to Do with Floppy Disks

When disposing of floppy disks, it’s important not to simply throw them in the regular trash. Floppy disks should not be incinerated, as this can release toxic fumes and contribute to air pollution. Additionally, dumping floppy disks in landfills can contribute to environmental contamination.

Who May Be Interested in Acquiring Floppy Disks?

Vintage computer enthusiasts, collectors, and historians may be interested in acquiring old floppy disks for various reasons. These individuals appreciate the nostalgia and historical significance of vintage technology and may be willing to pay for rare or unique floppy disks.


In conclusion, while floppy disks may have become obsolete in today’s technology-driven world, they still hold value, both in terms of their recyclable materials and their potential historical significance. Recycling floppy disks is crucial for reducing electronic waste, conserving resources, and protecting the environment.

Whether you choose to recycle your floppy disks through local recycling centers, retailers, or online programs, it’s important to responsibly dispose of them to prevent them from ending up in landfills. Additionally, if you have a collection of old floppy disks, consider exploring options for selling them to collectors or vintage computer stores.

By taking the time to recycle and properly dispose of electronic waste, including floppy disks, we can contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly future.

Final thoughts on the future of floppy disks: While the era of floppy disks may have come to an end, their impact on the world of technology should not be forgotten. They paved the way for portable storage and data transfer, enabling the digital revolution we now enjoy. As technology continues to evolve, it’s important to adapt and embrace new forms of storage and disposal methods.

Question: How do I dispose of old floppy disks?
Answer: Floppy disks can be disposed of by recycling them at an electronic waste recycling facility.

Question: Are floppy disks worth anything?
Answer: In general, floppy disks have little to no monetary value, as they are considered outdated technology.

Question: What not to do with floppy disk?
Answer: Do not expose floppy disks to extreme temperatures, magnetic fields, or liquids, as it can damage the data stored on them.

Question: Who wants floppy disks?
Answer: Some collectors, vintage computer enthusiasts, or artists may be interested in acquiring floppy disks for nostalgic or creative purposes.


About the author 

Jason Farland