Is It Ok to Throw Away VHS Tapes?

If you’ve been watching movies since the 90s, you know the allure of VHS tapes – after all, they were the flash disks of the time. So chances are, you have even owned a few in your day.

But those days are long gone, and we understand if you now feel like you’re “stuck” with the tapes you still have laying around your house. So in this post, we’re going to teach you how to get rid of these tapes sustainably.

Can you recycle VHS tapes?

Yes, you can recycle VHS tapes just like any other e-waste.

Is it OK to throw away VHS tapes?

No, you shouldn’t throw away your tapes. Since these tapes aren’t biodegradable, they can sit in landfills for thousands of years.

Beyond that, they can release toxic metals into the soil, contaminating it. To make matters worse, VHS tapes release toxic chemicals into the atmosphere if you burn them.

How do you dispose of old VHS tapes properly?

The best way to dispose of old VHS tapes is to recycle them. Fortunately, there are several ways to do this. Here are a few:

1. Local recycling centers

Believe it or not, many local recycling centers accept such tapes and other forms of e-waste. All you have to do is call your local facility and ask them if they accept these tapes or if they know of a nearby facility that does.

Alternatively, you can use Earth 911 to search for suitable recycling facilities near you.

2. Greendisk

If you’re looking for a convenient way to get your VHS tapes recycled within Canada, you can use Greendisk. This company accepts a variety of e-waste including:

  • VHS tapes
  • Computer drives
  • Cassette tapes
  • Batteries
  • Communications devices like phones

3. Green Citizen

If you live in the United States, you can use Green Citizen to recycle your old VHS tapes. All you have to do is pack them up together and drop them off at the company’s recycling facility at 831 Bayshore Highway, Suite 2, Burlingame, CA 94010.

Alternatively, you can use their mail-in service. Either way, you will have to pay $1 per pound of VHS tapes.

Interestingly, Green Citizen also offers VHS tape recycling services to businesses. To schedule a pick-up for your business, visit their business recycling pickup page, fill out the form here and click on the request pickup button.

Alternatively, you can mail in your tapes. Whatever the case, Green Citizen’s recycling center is operational each week, Monday to Friday from 10 AM to 6 PM.

Does Best Buy take old VHS tapes?

While Best Buy’s recycling program accepts VCRs and DVD players, it doesn’t accept such tapes.

What can you recycle at Home Depot?

Home Depot recycles hard-to-recycle household items like:

  • Rechargeable batteries (alkaline, lithium-ion, and nickel-cadmium)
  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs
  • Cell phones
  • LED light bulbs

However, Home Depot doesn’t accept VHS tapes.

What can you do with old VHS tapes besides throwing them out?

Apart from recycling old VHS tapes, there are other ways to sustainably dispose of them. These include:

1. Donating them

You can donate your old tapes to Goodwill, Freecycle, or a willing local library. You can even donate them to a charity shop – some of them will still take these tapes.

However, most don’t – they would rather stock DVDs instead. Vintage and old record stores are more likely to accept VHS tapes. Some are even willing to pay for them.

2. Selling them

Some people out there are still willing to buy VHS tapes. So if you’re patient, you can sell your old tapes. You can have a yard sale to lure potential buyers in or could try selling on online platforms like Amazon and eBay.

You could even target old music stores that collect these tapes. Interestingly, rare tapes can go for as much as $9000 on online platforms.

3. Reusing them

Another thing you can do with old VHS tapes is to reuse them around the house. Some of the things you can use them to make include:

  • Tables/night stands – you can make these by gluing together several tapes
  • Bookends – you can make these by gluing CDs to the ends of old tapes
  • Planters – you can make these by gluing such tapes together into a box shape
  • Lamps – you can make these by placing string lights inside old tapes

Final thoughts

When it comes down to it, you should never throw away your old tapes – recycle, sell, donate, or reuse them instead.

Find out more about how to recycle other commonly used items, such as old encyclopedias, empty deodorant containers, gatorade bottles, and more!

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