In the year 2005, there were approximately 94.5 million VHS tapes still in circulation in the US.
While most of the VHS tapes out there are now obsolete, disposing of them is another matter entirely.
People either throw them in the trash or keep them in storage as relics. Here’s what you need to know about disposing of VHS tapes.
What Are VHS Tapes Made Of?
VHS tapes are made from the least biodegradable material on the planet: plastic. A lot of different types of plastics are used in the construction of the casings and tape housings.
They’re constructed out of polypropylene and polyethylene terephthalate. The ribbon is coated with iron oxide, which is a form of rust. Other metals used in the construction of VHS tapes are also hazardous to human health.
Hence, disposing of these materials the correct way is paramount, or else it harms the environment. This includes all plants, animals, and humans that come into contact with it.
The Importance of Recycling VHS Tapes
The importance of recycling VHS tapes lies in the materials that comprise them. Metals, along with plastics, are used to make them. Hence, they sit in landfills for thousands of years if not disposed of correctly.
Moreover, they have a high probability of poisoning neighboring water supplies if they’re not disposed of correctly.
If the metals or plastics reach the incinerator, they can give off toxic fumes that poison the environment. Hence, the extra effort to make sure the VHS tapes don’t end up poisoning the earth is worth it.
How to Recycle VHS Tapes
There are various techniques to recycle VHS tapes.
While going for the mail-back program, in this case, is outdated, there are a lot of other options. Here are just a few of them.
Local thrift stores should be your first choice when recycling old VHS tapes. Usually, old thrift stores are the first place that people search for old VHS tapes.
Some are collectors, while others are filmmakers. These tapes carry a lot of sentimental value for some people and the rare ones can even fetch you some money.
Recycling organizations exist all around the world to dispose of all types of electronic media. There are some that simply require you to mail in items while others get you in touch with the experts.
Whether government-sponsored or privately-owned, these organizations should be your priority.
They not only have the tools and the services capable of recycling VHS tapes, but they also have the expertise.
Green Disk is one of the premier recycling organizations in the world. It collects all the VHS and cassette tapes that you have and erases the content.
The company then recycles the tapes as thoroughly as possible. It uses two options for recycling. The first are the Technotrash cans that are available in different sizes.
The second way is to ship the VHS tapes directly to Green Disk, and they’ll do the rest.
Moreover, this helps in disposing of magnetic tapes better since magnetic media is non-biodegradable.
My Recycled Bags
My Recycled Bags takes a different approach to recycling VHS tapes.
It uses the tape to make things like crochets, purses, and bags out of them. The company even has tutorials on how to make these items on your own.
You can easily knit a bag out of recycled VHS tape. This is not only a very practical use of the tape, but it also prevents it from going into the landfill.
CD Recycling Center of America
The CD Recycling Center of America is another great organization that takes your unwanted CDs, DVDs, and VHS tapes.
It will help you get rid of all sorts of electronic media that you don’t need any more.
Since the company has offices all across the country, you can mail your VHS tapes to the nearest recycling center.
Donations are another great way to reuse and recycle VHS tapes. This helps them get utilized longer and doesn’t add to the landfill.
Donations can help people who are collecting different memorabilia from the 80s and 90s. It can also help people who are collecting old filming equipment and save them money.
Also, donating is a great way to unburden yourself without much work. You can simply send over a package and be done with it.
The Freecycle Network is a donation of a network that connects millions together. They don’t only deal in the cassette or videotapes, but they also specialize in all types of used items.
Hence, they are constantly on the lookout for people who are willing to give or get things. Hence, they will take the VHS tapes off your hands to give them to those that need them.
These can be old collectors, filmmakers, vintage collectors, etc.
The Freecycle network is mainly available in the US and can connect people with their neighbors as well.
No matter whether the person lives in the same state or on a different hemisphere, they’ll connect them.
Reusing VHS Tapes
Reusing VHS tapes is one way to make sure they don’t become part of the landfill.
Any VHS tapes that contain footage you don’t need you can record over. However, if you don’t have the necessary equipment you can always choose to do other things with your VHSs.
For instance, you can use them to make bookshelves and pencil cases. You can also use the VHS tapes to knit a bag. There are tutorials online to do all of these things.
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