How to dispose of your old tapes responsibly

Key takeaways

  1. You can recyle your tapes with private companies like Terracycle.
  2. If you have first prints of popular movies and TV shows, you can sell them. 
  3. You can digitise their content and then donate them to charity with EachMoment.

Option 1 — Recycle your tapes

We’re often asked how to dispose of or recycle VHS, audio cassette, and other types of tape.

It’s not as simple as you might think. Charity shops increasingly refuse to accept donations of old tapes because so few people want to buy them nowadays. And unfortunately, they can’t be easily recycled either. Most councils won't accept them in the recycling bin and even many recycling centres will not take them. This is because properly disposing of the data and chemicals on old tapes is expensive.

If putting your tapes in landfill causes you guilt, there are private companies who will recycle old media in an environmentally-friendly fashion, such as Terracycle. Terracycle will send you one of their Zero Waste Boxes, which start at £126 for a Small 25 x 25 x 46cm box.

Terracycle zero waste box - private company that will recycle your tapes for you in environmentally-friendly fashion

Option 2 — Sell them

If you believe some of your tapes may be valuable collectors’ items, you can sell them to specialist collector shops or sell them yourself on eBay.

If they really are worth something, selling them on eBay is likely to bring you more money, but does involve a bit more work on your part.

Similar to books and comics, first prints of popular movies, TV shows, and albums are worth the most. So unfortunately your home movies are likely only worth something to you!

Option 3 — Digitise & donate your tapes to help stop Alzheimer’s disease

So, what do you do if it is just personal tapes you need to dispose of?

The first thing is to make sure you have the precious memories on them safely backed up. It’s possible to do this yourself (see our How To guide here).

If you have more than one or two tapes, or high quality transfer is your top concern, then you may wish to have your tapes professionally digitisedEachMoment is the safest digitisation company in the UK, but we’re not your only option. 

EachMoment engineer inspects an old tape before digitisation

 

If you choose to go with us for your digitisation, EachMoment can responsibly dispose of your tapes once your memories are safely digitised, there are multiple backups, and all data protection procedures are observed.

At that point, we make a donation on your behalf to our network of schools, art universities, and local artists, who repurpose your old tapes to create sculptures and multimedia exhibits.

Besides helping students and artists learn and perfect their artistic endeavours, your donation also goes to charity. We’re partners with the Alzheimer’s Society – the biggest memory loss charity in the UK.

The sculptures that your tapes help create are displayed at charity exhibitions that raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society, which directly benefits those who are affected by memory loss and contributes to research that will one day cure it.

A recent charity exhibition in support of the Alzheimer's Society hosted by EachMoment
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