I’ll be honest – I was incredibly skeptical when I heard there were survival uses for old CDs and DVDs.
I mean, let’s face it – it’s 2016 now, and not many people (at least the younger generations) use CDs anymore. Nope, now it’s all about smartphones and downloading your music/videos off the internet.
And what about DVDs? People still use those, but most people are inclined to throw them away as soon as they get sick of the film (like husbands do with their wives’ bad chick flicks).
It’s seemed like old CDs and DVDs have given up their purpose and are doomed to a lonely life of garage sales and garbage bins.
However, I’ve seen the light, and I’m betting you will too. If you can fight the urge to throw away these “worthless bits of plastic,” I’ll show you how to make it worth your while with these:
5 Awesome Survival Uses For Old CDs and DVDs
1 – Turn Your CDs/DVDs Into A Solar Heat Panel
That’s right – with a few old DVDs and CDs you can create a solar panel to help keep you warm and save money on energy!
Here’s what you’ll need to make the solar panel:
- box cutter
- masking tape
- pair of scissors
- measuring tape,
- 25 or more CDs/DVDs
- spray paint (black)
- drop cloth (clear)
What To Do:
Measure the length and width of your window. Then, cut a piece of cardboard that matches that length PLUS 4 inches on each side (i.e: a 24×36 in. window = a 28×40 in. cardboard). Spray one side of the cardboard black and leave to dry overnight.
Cut out a 4-inch square from each corner of the cardboard. Fold up the corners so they meet (should form a box, with the black on the inside). Tape the corners so the box stays intact.
Take your CDs and insert them into the box in even rows (keep the shiny side facing outward). The bottom row will touch the bottom of the box and the top row will touch the top side.
Take your pencil and stick it through one of the holes in the top row of CDs. Trace the circle onto the box with the pencil. Do this for each CD on the top and bottom rows. Take the CDS out of the box, and use the box cutter to cut out the holes. Then, glue each CD over each hole – make sure to leave space above the bottom row, under the top row, and under the center row.
Cut four rectangles out of the extra cardboard, each 4 in. wide, and a length that’s equivalent to 3/4 the width of your box. Glue their sides to the inside of your box (like the walls of a maze) as follows:
- 1st rectangle: against the left side and above the bottom row of CDs
- 2nd rectangle: against the right side under the center row
- 3rd rectangle: against the left side, above the center row
- 4th rectangle: against the right side, under the top row.
Let the box dry overnight.
Cut the drop cloth so it’s 3 in. longer and 3 in. wider than your box. Drape the cloth over the top/sides of the box, and glue it down tightly. Once the glue dries (24 hrs) cut two holes in the top corners of the box, and put a hook in each hole. Hang the panel in the window that faces south.
There you have it! Your very own DIY solar heat panel, i.e. a solar panel that reflects the sun’s rays in such a way as to help heat a room, or specific area. They will not convert the sun’s rays into electricity. Those are photovoltaic solar grids which are the type which absorb the sun’s rays and turn them into useable energy
2 – CDs Help Keep The Birds Away
Here’s a weird way to use CDs – use them to deter birds from getting in your garden and eating your food! You can also hang them from an awning to keep them away from your house.
Here’s a video explaining this cool technique:
3 – CDs Could Make You A Better Hunter
This is a fun way to use those leftover CDs – use them as target practice. Have your buddy toss one of these through the air like a frisbee and try to shoot it down. This is even more difficult than it sounds, since the disc will reflect sunlight and make it harder to see.
4 – DIY CD Solar Cooker
Take an old satellite dish and attach CDs or DVDs to it. You’ve just made a solar cooker capable of reaching over 700°F! Attach less CDs in order to lower the heat in the cooker.
5 – Make A CD/DVD Lamp
This is a great method for people that have TONS of leftover CDs (rather than just a few). Using just stacks of CDs and an LED lighting system, you can transform those “worthless” CDs into a fancy light fixture that’ll light up your home. Plus, since LED doesn’t produce as much heat as lightbulbs, you don’t have to worry about burning your house down if you forget to turn off your lamp.
Note: CD lamp s cool, but it’s still doomed if there’s a power outage. With this solar air lantern, you’ll never have to worry about the lights going out.
Here’s a cool video describing the steps:
6 – Extra Helpful Hint
If you want to implement some of these ideas in your home, but don’t have any CDs/DVDs laying around (or don’t have enough) you can often get them either FREE (or for super cheap) at Goodwill, garage sales or Craigslist.
Or you can always ask your family and friends; I’m sure they’d be more than willing to give their old discs away.