How can I reuse or recycle VHS video tapes?

Video tapeI’ve always been a film fanatic and amassed quite a collection of videos over the years until DVDs came along. Most of my pre-recorded ones were given away and the ones we recorded ourselves went to live in the attic along with the VCR itself. A couple of years on, they’re still up there.

I hadn’t thought of them though until I posted the blog on televisions a couple of weeks ago then Brian emailed to say he had a similar collection of now-redundant tapes too – and now here we are: how can we reuse or recycle video tapes?

Best Suggestions

  • Pass Them On: offer pre-recorded videos to your local charity shop or on Freecycle – not everyone’s made the switch to DVD and it’s a cheap way for them to pick up entertainment for free/cheap. Some charity shops don’t accept them any more because no one buys them – it differs from shop to shop and between areas.
  • Reuse: Crafters have used the tape for crocheting or weaving. The resulting fabric if often used for retro-style bags or purse. Gardeners also use strips of video to deter birds from attacking seedlings.
  • Recycle: Some recycling schemes do exist but they tend to be private and only available in a limited area (due to postage/transport costs). Details of some schemes are below.
  • See the comments below for more suggestions and ideas

(Photo by vierdrie)

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390 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle VHS video tapes?”


  1. Alistair says:

    We are decluttering and have 150 or so mainly children’s videos, Walt Disney shop bought (from new) VHS videos in original boxes. We are Stevenage area, is anyone interested in them? Before I take a trip to the tip.

    • Rob says:

      Hi there,

      Did you manage to find any takers for your VHS cassettes? Or some other use for them? I have loads too and cannot bring myself to put them into landfill.

      Regards
      Rob

  2. Belinda Thomas says:

    I’ve got about 100 old video cassettes. Most were bought as blank tapes and have been recorded over from the TV several times so of no interest to anyone.I don’t want them to go into landfill, Does anyone know where they can be recycled?

    • Peter Kemp says:

      The Bristol based company that use to take VHS Cassettes, Environmental Media Solutions stopped doing so a couple of years ago and late last year it was wound up on an application to the High Court by HMRC!

      The only company I have found that will take them is Terracycle. They will sell you a collection box for either £99.18 (Small Box) or £174.89 (Medium Box) and when full they will arrange collection. They undertake to recycle the cassettes in an environmentally friendly manner.

      I managed to get rid of over 200 home recorded tapes to a chap in Cambridge that wanted them for a project.

      The recycling industry just don’t seem interested and other than Terracycle there is nobody that I can trace that wants them, just too difficult to recycle at an economic cost!

  3. Jan Clark says:

    Hi, my son (who is disabled) is always on the lookout for VHS or Betamax tapes will stuff recorded from TV. In the north bristol area. If anyone has any lying around would be grateful. Also looking for the machines especially Betamax ones! A long shot but you never know if someone has one lying around.

    • Dee says:

      Hi, Jan!

      I am de-cluttering in advance of moving house this week (East Bristol) and have a collection of VHS tapes. Some are of recordings from the TV, some are pre-recorded films, some blank. Would your son be interested?

    • Mauro Johannessen says:

      Hi Jan, I do collect old football matches with England and Im looking for a match from 1978 where England wins in Denmark 4-3… Can you please tell me if your son has any old recording with this football match? I am willing to pay for it if he can help me.

    • Debby says:

      Hi Jan – just read your note from last year. I have several films on tape plus we still have a VCR recorder – any use to you? I will send more details if you are interested.

    • Valerie Revell says:

      Hi We have four bought VHS tapes which can be given to you or anyone else who wants them. Fantansia, Miracle on 34th Street, Calendar girls and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Send me an email. I live in North Bristol.

      • Anonymous says:

        If any still has video tapes or DVD’s or CD’s to dispose of.

        The British heart foundation charity shop
        Left hand side Blackboy hill/Worral road junction
        still takes all of the above

    • ;Neil says:

      Are you still after vhs tapes, recorded and blank?
      Also have a vhs machine if you would like it

  4. Helen says:

    I have around 60 video cassettes with films & TV series recorded off TV over the years. Really do not want them to go to landfill. Is anyone interested, still have a VCR that longs to be used?
    I am in North Birmingham. Drop me a line.

  5. Shirley Rainford says:

    Have many prerecorded VHS videos of Catherine Cookson…some unplayed..
    Haworth area, West Yorkshire

  6. Shirley Rainford says:

    Am relinquishing my late mum’s collection of prerecorded VHS Catherine Cookson videos.. some unplayed. All good condition. Other videos available of various films. Haworth area, West Yorkshire.

  7. kathryn whittaker says:

    I have quite a few childrens videos, for example Brum, Thomas the Tank etc, all good quality.

    Willing to deliver or post (depending where you are). I am in Gloucestershire.

    Please get in touch

  8. Nadija Corcos says:

    Hi Jan,
    Are you and your son inundated with vhs tapes recorded from TV? If not, drop me a line. I have quite a few, and am local to you.
    .nadija

  9. Stephanie Davies says:

    l have a box full of video tapes. All boxed in excellent condition all films
    l would like to recycle for charity or if anyone is interested. l feel awful just binning them Contact me if you are interested.

    My post code is DA9 9GU

  10. Celine says:

    I have a lot of VHS tapes if anyone wants them. I live in NW London. Also have cassette tapes that really need to go!

    Here’s hoping they will find a home.

    • john says:

      Would there be any football on the tapes?

      • carole says:

        Hi
        I have been trying to find out how to dispose of pre-recorded VHS video tapes and come across your post.
        I have football tapes, mostly Chelsea, recorded from MOTD 1980’s .
        I have no idea if these will still play but they have been stored carefully and appear to look in good condition.
        Also tapes from TV programmes from 80’s, 90’s .
        If interested please contact.
        Thanks

  11. Penny says:

    Hi I have lots of Disney/children’s VHS tapes free to anyone who would like them. Am in Grantham, Lincs.

    • john says:

      Hi to Carole

      Ref the football tapes,could I ask your location?

      regards

      • carole says:

        Hi John
        Leatherhead Surrey

      • john says:

        Could I ask how many tapes you have?

        I am heading to Potters bar via london on tuesday 17 april by van.
        Although I could return by train via Leatherhead rail station

        Not sure if that would be suitable.

        Let me know

        The e-mail address is johngreatwesternATaol.com

  12. carole says:

    I have 34 tapes in total 5 of which are labelled as football matches.
    Some of the other labels have fallen off so not sure what all the tapes consist of.
    What time are you thinking of being in Leatherhead?

    I work in the afternoons but very close to Leatherhead station.

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  14. Alenochka says:

    Record fragments of them to incorporate in your family videos or You Tube videos for humor, prove, reference, etc. :)

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    • Since December 2018 this string appears to have gone seriously off topic!

      In the UK the only effective way of recycling VHS cassettes is via a company Terracycle (www.terracycle.co.uk) for which a not unsubstantial charge will be made.

      You purchase a collection box, Small – £142.44 or Large – £239.16 in which to place your unwanted cassettes. When full you return this to the company using the pre-paid UPS shipping label for the contents to be recyled in an environmentally safe mannner.

      The waste industry seems consumed with single use plastics but nobody want to do anything about the 1.4 BILLION VHS cassettes that people now no longer want. I have tried to get Which? interested without success so it seems inevitable that most will end up in landfill, where in a thousand years they will still be in the same state as when first taken out of the original packaging

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