How do I responsibly dispose of old zip disks?
October 19, 2006 9:15 AM   Subscribe

My company has a cartload of old zip disks with non-confidential info on them (and a zip drive). Is there any good way to dispose of these...? Someplace that could erase and reuse or resell them would be ideal, since we don't have the staff to go through and erase them ourselves. (We're in N. TX but could possibly ship them off). I just hate to put them in the landfill.
posted by emjaybee to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
I would contact a local school, or maybe a school in New Orleans trying to re-open, and see if they could use them. The NO schools probably have a ton of items they need to transport and/or backup.
posted by slavlin at 9:36 AM on October 19, 2006

posted by kc0dxh at 9:53 AM on October 19, 2006

Actually erasing them is really easy, there are magnetic erasers that will wipe the bunch rather easily.

That said, as far as Zip disks go, art departments with old Macs could definitely use them.
posted by fake at 10:04 AM on October 19, 2006

Zip drives (and disks) are near-worthless nowadays. While I share your reluctance to simply throw them away, there's not many other options.

Create a mobile with then, p'raps?
posted by unixrat at 10:07 AM on October 19, 2006

I sympathize but zip disks are junk already. Post them on CL or something and if they don't get picked up in a week, shred them and toss them. Then donate $500 to your favorite charity to ease your guilt.

Passing off obsolete and unreliable media or the poor is cruel, not kind.
posted by chairface at 10:16 AM on October 19, 2006

I agree that craigslist or freecycle is your best local option. Googling "donate + 'zip disks'" also brought up some places that specifically request donations of zip disks, but I'd check first to see whether it's an issue that the disks are not blank.

Trips for Kids
Computer Reuse & Recycling Center
The Malcolm-Martin Center
PAWS Veterinary Clinic

These are all 501(c)3 nonprofits from what I can tell. They are all far enough from TX that you'd have to ship the stuff, though.

[That said, I tend to agree with chairface, particularly where the New Orleans schools are concerned....]
posted by Siobhan at 10:35 AM on October 19, 2006

I actually bought a zip drive for 25¢ the other day. I doubt you'd be able to sell the disks for much.

this ebay auction of 50 disks is currently at $26. In 1996 or whenever that would have been worth about $500.
posted by delmoi at 12:44 PM on October 19, 2006


From their website:
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posted by katemonster at 2:08 PM on October 19, 2006

Some archival repository libraries actually still get some use out of ZIP disks -- though not for a long long time, since they require specialized equipment to read and have moving parts and thus are less than ideal for permanent storage solutions, but they do seem to hold up better than CDs for the medium term. I wouldn't drive yourself crazy trying to find one that's hard up for ZIP disks though, it's not a widespread practice.

Maybe call a couple of local libraries' Special Collections or Archives, ask if they have any need of ZIP disks, and if you don't get any hits within a couple minutes, shrug and go the Freecycle, environmentally sound disposal, or nonprofit organization that does need 'em route.
posted by taber at 4:42 PM on October 19, 2006

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