How to destroy media

Hopefully this can become an authoritative thread on the subject when all’s said and done. What I am trying to do is simple - I want to destroy media. I have specific requirements. Read on.

I recently completed “transcoding” a collection of CD-Rs to DVD media. They numbered 150+ and I now have 22 DVDs containing the same data. I wish to destroy the CD-R discs beyond repair. They do not contain ultra-sensitive data, so they don’t have to be beyond the repair capabilities of governments, but if it’s all the same I may as well destroy them so that nobody in the world can recover the data. However, this is not a requirement - I am flexible on this.

I have read various ideas on the subject. A lot of them are anecdotal=impractical - i.e. putting them in the microwave. Here are my real-world requirements:

[li]must be ecologically friendly - the method must not create a significant amount of contaminants, such as chemical dust, etc. I do not wish to further contaminate our environment.
[/li][li]must be safe - the method must not endanger neither me nor my property. microwaving the discs is absolutely out of the question, as is setting them on fire, boiling them, etc. I do not want to inhale dust from pulverizing the discs, and so on. my health and well-being is priority #1.
[/li][li]must work on bulk quantities - when I’ll be ready to proceed, I will probably have close to 300 disks. obviously, I do not have the time nor patience to apply the method to each disc individually.
[/li][li]must be relatively inexpensive - I will buy a drill bit, a small saw, etc., but I will not spend a lot of money on specialized equipment.
[/li][li]must at the very least render the discs useless to anybody short of a data-recovery shop. ideally, the method should render the discs useless even to world governments.

So there it is. I await your input. I already have some ideas, which I’ll post after I get some feedback.

Some office shredders are capable of destroying discs, but feeding them in bulk is problematic since the metal teeth generally will not ‘suck’ the disc in unless constant pressure is applied. Nonetheless, if this is a one-time job and not a recurring requirement, it shouldn’t take all that long to hand feed them.

My other instinct would be along the lines of high heat. AFAIK, high heat levels will begin to affect the dye, effectively corrupting the data even if the disc appears to be physically unharmed. Since you are so concerned about safety, the trick would be to find a middle temperature at which the dye is ‘activated’ but the PCB shell does not melt.

Just set them out in the sun for a couple days. The UV is all it takes. As to heat, 150’F should do it.

this is a easy one, if they are CD’s just scrap the tops off, as when u do that its almost see throu :slight_smile:

You could try this thing

I’ve also seen a small hand held device that basically used emery cloth to destroy the disc, but that created a lot of glitter.

the type of machine that Dismembered Ninja suggested works well. they etch across the entire disc, puncturing the data layer. i’d suggest this model if you decide to go this route. it can be found on amazon for $35 and maybe cheaper elsewhere.

Actually don’t place too much faith in heat. The Gadget Show on Chnnel 5 here in the UK decided to test a few forms of back up to see which made the best home “black box”, which included a DVD and CD rom, usb stick, sd card etc. Part of the test included exposing them all to high heat and then extreme cold and the data was still readable on the discs, as it was after being driven over, stuck in pop, vinigar and salt, the discs became unreadable only after being fired at a wall from a cannon as it just destroyed them.

Simplest, break them into small pieces and dispose of them in different locations, public bins, or using one of the shredders you can buy now that do discs as well. Unfortunately you are going to have to compromise on the time factor, if doing all 300 at once, or you could do each one as you finish with it, or the money factor if you want speed. Is the data that sensative that you can’t just bin them?

snip each disk once with some sissors
no-one will ever read them again.

Unless storage is out of the question, I would suggest that you store them, preferably seperately from the DVD’s - as they have proved reliable so far… you should have at least two DVD copies, before “retiring” the CD media.

I’m leaning towards some method of snapping that would be certain to contain any fragments… making up a hinged assembly, or a box where the CD sits on side rails with a gap, and a plate attached to the lid comes down inbetween.

I suppose the simplest, would be a sander with extraction - the sole plate and the refills have holes, and you attach a pipe to a vacuum cleaner. Save time by destroying only half.

Other possibilities, clamp a stack of them to a workbench, and hole-cutter the centre.

Thanks for your suggestions. I’m not looking to spend more than $20 or so, so a dedicated destroyer doesn’t meet my cheapness requirement. Heating them may produce dangerous fumes, plus it doesn’t meet my bulk requirement - I cannot place 300 discs out in the sun, each individually exposed - I would surely lose my lease :slight_smile:

Here’s what I am thinking. First, what I cannot do, but wish I could:
Tie them up with a string, double (or triple) clear bag them, hang them on top of a target and shoot them a few times. That would be quick, and it would produce little garbage outside the bag. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), I don’t have a gun, and if I did I don’t know where I would do this here in Florida, legally.

Here’s the plan so far:
I will freeze them in bulk, just for the heck of it - can’t help them, and it’s easy enough to do. Hopefully it will do a bit of damage. If not, at least nothing is gained. Then I will double bag them, in a special arrangement that involves a bit of tape, and run them over with my car. I’m thinking of placing something underneath, like a chain, to maximize the damage. If it works the way I think it will, I should have CD soup in a bag. I’ll then divide into X parts, disposed of at X different locations.

I will try, for fun, to drill a hole in a stack of ~40 - just to see if it works. Before I came up with the car idea I was gonna saw them into 2 or 4 pieces.

Suggestions welcomed before I put it into practice.

Put them in stacks of 50 and hit them with an axe. Of course this requires you to have an axe and be able to hit the discs with it. If you don’t have one maybe you could barrow one from somebody.

Send them to Bart or me. :bigsmile:

Launch them in a rocket in to the sun.

Failing that use a scissors (buy a good steel one).

Give them to my 5 year old nephew.

Superglue 10 of them together and give them away as decorative drink coasters or paperwieghts. :smiley: (I knew a company that did this)

Hmm lot’s of spec but no money hey! Nothing is free in this world

Keep them in safe storage until the polycarbonate eating bacteria escape from a secret labs! :smiley:

what about the garden tool for eating up branches, just place a bag underneath and throw them in.

Definitely scissors. I used to try and break them, but its really easy to get cut with the pieces. Good scissors will cut the disc very easily. One quick snip and the disc is trashed.
PressIt® CDestroyer

Saw in another post, the one about waterproofing (fixative spray)

The destroyer looks intrigueing - only one at a time though, and how long it takes, it doesn’t say.

Now if I was good at drawing, I’d have someone using it and saying “Now where does the label go?”

Hi, try this new product at edit. It imparts an optically disruptive strip across the disc surface to make it unreadable. New and practical tool for old CDs.
It’s environmentally friendly and inexpensive ($9.99). And you can dispose of your
discs into plastic recycling bin after your Disc Erase them (they will eventually be
melted down by the recyclers, thus forever destroyed)! I’ve used it and it suits
my needs very well, and it is very compact in size! Cool new product!