VHS and cassette tapes are a classic example of a dead technology. We bet that you have your fair share of them piled in a box somewhere, waiting to be dealt with. Can you even recycle VHS tapes and cassettes? Sadly, this is a classic example of a technology designed with no consideration for its end of life.
Next to Styrofoam, videotapes might be the most difficult household item to recycle. They’re not cost-effective to recycle, meaning they cost more money to break down. In fact, they take a lot of work to recycle and come out almost worthless!
Unfortunately, the outside plastic shell of VHS and cassette tapes will never biodegrade. This means they can sit in a landfill for thousands of years! Plus, just because it’s made of plastic, doesn’t mean you can throw it in the recycling bin. The inner tape comes from a form of polyethylene, which isn’t recyclable. Furthermore, the polyethylene is coated with toxic metals like chromium. If this sits in the landfill for too long, these toxic metals will seep into the ground.
So what can you do? Depending on your location, you have some great options for recycling VHS and cassettes.
For locations of VHS and cassette tape recyclers, please consult earth911.com, a nationwide search engine for recycling centers. Just enter “VHS” or “Video Tapes” and your zip code to find the drop-off locations closest to you that can recycle VHS tapes. Earth911.com can find recycling centers for many household items. It’s quick and easy to recycle VHS and cassette tapes!
Anyone in San Francisco or the surrounding area can drop off their VHS and cassette tapes to GreenCitizen’s Burlingame EcoCenter. Since their disposal is tricky, we charge a small fee, but at least you won’t have to worry about them anymore!
You can always try selling your classic tapes to the highest bidder online. We’ve seen some tapes go for as much as $9,000! Or you can go ahead and have a yard sale or Craigslist ad to bring the buyers to you. It might be worthwhile to trade your old vhs tapes for cash.
If recycling isn’t an option, find alternative ways to use your VHS and cassettes. Get crafty and repurpose them in fun and exciting ways. For instance, you can never go wrong with cassette coasters, VHS table stands, and cassette tape bracelets.
Thank you for doing your part to recycle VHS and cassette tapes. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!
Category: Bay Area, Blog, E-waste, Electronic Recycling, Electronic Recyclying, GreenCitizen, Recycle VHS Tapes, Recycling Laws, San Francisco, VHS Tapes, Video Tapes Tags: Cassette Tapes, electronics recycling, recycle, Recycle VHS Tapes, recycling, VHS, Video Tapes