How to Dispose of Videocassettes

By Amelia Allonsy

If you've gotten rid of the last VCR in your home, chances are you are ready to dispose of your old videocassettes. It may be tempting to simply throw the tapes out with your weekly trash, but doing so could pose serious environmental health risks. VHS tapes are made of plastic and magnetic strips that are harmful if disposed of carelessly. Although there are safe ways to discard of your cassettes, you should pursue methods of recycling first so that your tapes can be viewed by someone who wants them.

Step 1

Sell unwanted cassettes through a yard sale, consignment shop or online auction website. Some cassettes might not be suited for resale, but there may be a market for popular movies and collector's editions.

Step 2

Donate videocassettes to a thrift store such as Goodwill or Salvation Army. Families with lower income may not be able to afford DVDs and will gladly purchase your used tapes at a discount price.

Step 3

Post your unwanted items on free websites like Freecycle or Freecycle is a recycling web group in which you can post offers for free items. People in your area who want your cassettes can contact you and arrange to pick them up. With Swaptree, you can trade your item to some who wants it in exchange for an item that you want.

Step 4

Ship your video cassettes to GreenDisk, a company that will accept your technology-related waste and dispose of it for you. You can dispose of up to 20 pounds of "technotrash" for $6.95 through the Technotrash Pack-IT service.

Step 5

Contact your local recycling center or landfill to find out your community's proper procedures for disposing of any videocassettes that you are unable to sell, donate or trade.

Tips & Warnings

  • Test your cassettes before donating them to make sure that they work properly. Thrift stores don't have the time to test each tape.
  • Proper storage of cassette tapes will increase their lifespan so they can be donated when you are ready to pass them along.