VHS, short for "Video Home System," was once the industry-standard format for home movies. However, VHS fell out of mainstream popularity as new formats, such as DVD and Blu-ray emerged, and the recent turn toward in-home streaming has further rendered the VHS format obsolete -- or, at the very least, dated. However, the trash can doesn't need to be your first choice when it comes to getting rid of old VHS tapes.
Send the VHS tapes to a place that will break them down for recycling. VHS tapes have many components, and while the plastic casing is recyclable, the Mylar tape inside inside contains toxic metals and is not. This tape is the reason you shouldn't dump VHS cassettes in a landfill; the chemicals in the the tape will break down and seep into the ground. GreenDisk and ACT (links in Resources) are two organizations that accept VHS tapes for recycling, separating the waste components from the reclaimable ones.
Donate your VHS tapes to local thrift stores. While your family may have moved on from VHS, other households may still rely on VHS for entertainment. VHS tapes sold at a thrift store can give another family a chance to enjoy your old films, while raising money for charities like The Salvation Army or locally run charities.
Convert your VHS tapes into something new and exciting. The Web is packed with unique ideas for turning old tapes into furniture, accessories, clothing and art. It takes a bit of the do-it-yourself spirit, but there are plenty of options available to creative craftspeople.