What Should You Do With Old VHS Tapes?
A Guide to Recycling / Disposing of VHS Tapes, Audio Cassettes, and More
Do you have old VHS tapes that are sitting around collecting dust? Video Tapes have essentially become obsolete due to the rise of Digital mp4 Files and DVDs. Now, many people are left with stacks of VHS Tapes and no idea of what to do with them. Fortunately, there are several options for you if you’re looking to declutter your space and find a new home for your old movies!
You may think you can just toss your unwanted video and audio tapes into the recycling bin. However, this is not the case. VHS Tapes are tricky in that they are only partially recyclable. While the plastic outer shell of video cassette tapes is recyclable, the Mylar plastic tape inside the shell is not.
The inner tape is coated with different metals and a toxic chemical known as chromium. This chemical is what allows the tape to carry a magnetic signal. However, if video cassettes are taken to normal landfills – these metals and chemicals will eventually leach out and contaminate the nearby water and soil. In addition, the outer plastic will take centuries to degrade. Thus, this combination of harmful toxins is what classifies VHS Tapes and other cassettes as electronic waste or “e-waste”.
Since you can’t just simply recycle or throw away old Video and Audio Cassettes, here are some other options to get rid of your tapes:
1. Bring your Video Tapes to companies who specialize in recycling e-waste
If you want to recycle your tapes, it’s important to find a facility that specializes in the proper disposal of electronic waste. In most cases, there will be local companies who you can bring your tapes to. However, if you don’t want to drop-off in person you can try Green Citizen, a website which allows you to mail in your old tapes to be recycled. If you’re not sure where an electronic waste facility is near you, you can visit Earth 911, Green Disk, or Recycle Nation. These websites give you specific drop-off points for your VHS Tapes and other e-waste items based on your location. These websites can even help you find pick-up and mail-in services as well.
2. Donate your Video Tapes
Often, thrift stores (Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc…) or libraries will take VHS Tapes and Audio Cassettes. However, some thrift stores have begun phasing out VHS Tapes completely. Thus, it would be best to call your local thrift stores to check with them before you drop off your tapes. If you have old commercial or educational movies, libraries would be a great place to contact to see if they accept donations. Occasionally, museums or local artists will take old video tapes either for educational purposes or even for art installations.
3. Sell your Video Tapes
Some VHS Tapes, especially commercial movies, may have value or be collectors items. You can try listing your Video or Audio Tapes on eBay, Craigslist, or you could even take them to yard sales in your area. Local vintage music shops or record stores may also buy back your old video tapes or audio cassette tapes.
4. Give your Video Tapes away
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