How to Erase a Non Rewritable CD

By Jon Stefansson

Updated September 26, 2017

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To erase a nonrewritable CD, you must destroy the disk and render the data unreadable. Do this by cutting, shredding or scratching the surface of the disk to the point where it cannot be read; or destroy old CDs containing financial or other sensitive information to protect yourself against identity theft.

Cut the CD into small pieces using a pair of strong scissors. Do not attempt to snap the CD--the plastic will shatter and can injure you or others nearby. Place the pieces of the CD in separate bins over several trash collections.

Shred the CDs using a CD-safe shredder. Several data-protection companies manufacture CD and DVD shredders. Some regular office shredders are designed to cut through CDs, but you should always check the manual before you start, just in case.

Purchase a CD scratching machine (see Resources for one option). Instead of breaking the CD in pieces, these machines scratch the underside of the disk to the point where the data on the disk is completely unreadable by most conventional means.