VHS and cassette tapes are a classic example of a dead technology. Shoved out of use by DVDs and CDs more than a decade ago, video tapes are so dead that hipsters barely use them. But how should you recycle VHS tapes? Sadly, video tapes are also a classic example of a technology designed with no consideration for its end of life.
Besides Styrofoam, which can sometimes be reused inside surfboards, videotapes might be the most difficult household item to recycle. Many household items are not cost-effective to recycle, meaning they cost more money to break down than can be reclaimed for their raw materials. VHS tapes are the worst in this regard. In short, they take a lot of work to recycle, and they are almost worthless.
Video Tape Recycling Options
If you are a San Francisco resident, here is what you can do: To recycle VHS tapes, you must separate the plastic case of the video from the black film. The plastic case of the video tape can be recycled; the film cannot. Pry open the plastic case with a screw driver and remove the black magnetic tape from the casing. This black tape must be thrown in the garbage. Once this has been removed, all of the remaining plastic can be put into the blue recycling bin at your home of office. Video tapes with the black magnetic tape still inside must be put in the trash.
For locations of VHS and cassette tape recyclers, please consult earth911.com, a nation-wide 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 be used to find recycling centers for many household items. Thank you for doing your part to recycle VHS tapes!