How to Destroy Floppy Disks

By Jason Artman

Updated February 10, 2017

The most common type of floppy disk holds 1.44MB of data.
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If you owned a computer before optical and flash storage became available, chances are that you still have a box or two of floppy disks lying around. However, floppy disks no longer have the storage capacity to be useful for most purposes. If the disks contain sensitive data, you can prevent potential spying by physically destroying your disks. If the disks don't contain sensitive data, recycle them or change them into something completely different.

Destroying Floppy Disks

Because floppy disks store data using magnetic particles, it is possible to rearrange those particles -- destroying the data in the process -- by sweeping a powerful magnet across the surface of a disk. However, according to this method isn't completely reliable. If you own a shredder that can destroy compact discs, you can safely use it to destroy floppy disks as well. Alternatively, Jack Schofield of The Guardian suggests seeking out a local company that specializes in secure document shredding.

Recycling Floppy Disks

Floppy disks contain recyclable plastics and metals that could be used to create other products. If your floppy disks contain no sensitive data, you can send them to a recycling center such as, CD Recycling Center of America or GreenDisk. In some cases, the recycling company will reimburse your shipping expenses.

Repurposing Floppy Disks

Although floppy disks may no longer be useful for storing data, you can still use them for other projects. For example, several 3.5-inch floppies can be glued together to make a pen holder. Floppy disks have also been used to create wall art and business advertisements.