Are VHS and Cassette Tapes Bad for the Environment? – An Article

Do you have a dusty collection of tapes in your home or storage that you’re ready to get rid of? You’re not alone! But you can’t just throw away VHS and cassette tapes because their materials are bad for the environment.
Keep reading to learn more about VHS and cassette tapes and how you can safely dispose of them without harming the environment.
The VHS & Cassette Tape Disposal Dilemma
VHS and cassette tapes occupy a gray area for disposal and their effect on the environment. The outside casings of VHS and cassette tapes are plastic, which we know is recyclable—the tapes inside, however, are coated in magnetic metals that can damage the environment.
Both tapes are labeled as e-waste, but they’re not harmful enough to be taken by the household hazardous waste program. They’re toxic e-waste but not recycled by many programs because they don’t contain enough usable and recyclable materials for their collection to be worthwhile.
What Is E-Waste?
Before we discuss cassettes and VHS tapes further, what exactly is e-waste? Electronic products that are no longer useful but contain components and materials too dangerous for a landfill are considered e-waste.
Certain portions of e-waste products can be recovered, recycled, and repurposed, but they also contain hazardous materials that could contaminate our soil and water supply. Some examples of e-waste we’re all familiar with include:
• Computers
• Televisions
• Cell phones
• VCRs
• Stereos
• Printers
Disposing of Cassette and VHS Tapes Safely
There are many things you can do with old VHS and cassette tapes, but if you’re ready to clear out some clutter in your home or storage, we don’t blame you. The thing is, disposing of these tapes isn’t as simple as throwing them in the trash where they can get dumped in a landfill.
The safest way to dispose of VHS and cassette tapes is through a capable recycling center. If you’re unsure where the nearest one in your area is, there are online resources like Earth911 that can point you toward the nearest center. Or, if there are no centers nearby, you can ship your old tapes to a special recycling center, who will dispose of them for you in an environmentally friendly way.
Hopefully, now you understand a little more about VHS and cassette tapes and their environmental impact. If you need to dispose of them, take time to get rid of them in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way—after all, we’ve only got one Earth!