In a world dominated by digital formats and streaming services, it can be easy to forget how video used to be watched. But for those of us who still have VHS collections, forgetting isn’t the problem. VHS tapes are, to put it lightly, bulky, and old collections can end up taking up huge amounts of much-needed storage space.

In this blog, we’ll take a look at the best ways to dispose of VHS tapes you don’t want or need anymore, plus some dos and don’ts for ensuring you dispose of your tapes properly. Read on to find out more.

What are VHS tapes?

vhs tape with a case

First, let’s briefly talk about what VHS tapes actually are for those who might not be familiar with the now outdated format.

VHS, short for Video Home System, was a popular home video recording and playback format introduced by JVC in the 1970s. These tapes became the dominant standard for home entertainment throughout the 1980s and 1990s, offering consumers a convenient way to record and watch movies, TV shows, and personal videos.

A VHS tape consists of a long strip of magnetic tape wound between two spools housed within a protective plastic shell that is roughly the size of a paperback book. The tape is coated with magnetic particles that store analog video and audio signals, which are read and played back by a VCR (videocassette recorder) or VCR/DVD combo player.

The environmental impact of VHS tapes

Now, you might be wondering why you can’t just throw away your old VHS tapes. Aside from the fact that others might still have a use for your unwanted tapes, there are also environmental concerns to consider.

In fact, while VHS tapes served as a cornerstone of home entertainment for decades, their environmental impact is a growing concern as they become obsolete. VHS tapes contain various materials that can harm the environment if not disposed of properly, including:


The plastic shell of VHS tapes is typically made of polystyrene or ABS plastic, which can take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills.

Magnetic tape

The magnetic tape within VHS tapes contains a coating of iron oxide and other chemicals that can leach into the soil and water if not properly recycled.


VHS tapes may also contain metal components such as screws and springs, which can contribute to metal pollution if not recycled.

Given these environmental concerns, it’s essential to explore eco-friendly methods for disposing of VHS tapes responsibly. Let’s take a look at those now.

Flat lay vhs video cassette parts on pastel blue background, top view of retro technology and media concept

How to properly dispose of VHS tapes

When it comes to saying goodbye to your old VHS tapes, consider the following eco-friendly disposal options.


Many recycling centers accept VHS tapes for recycling. The plastic shells can be melted down and reused to make new products, while the magnetic tape can be recycled for its metal content. Not all centers will accept VHS tapes though, so it is important to contact your local recycling facility to inquire about their policies regarding VHS tape recycling.


Get creative and repurpose your old VHS tapes into new and useful items. You can remove the magnetic tape and use the plastic shells as storage containers or decorative pieces, or get crafty and turn them into unique art projects or fashion accessories.

For example, you could use your old tapes to make a statement piece coffee table, a notebook, or even a clock. Your only limit is your imagination, so have fun with it!


If your VHS tapes are still in good condition and contain valuable content, consider donating them to schools, libraries, or community organizations. Many institutions still use VCRs for educational or archival purposes and may welcome donations of VHS tapes.

Sell Them

Of course, if you’d rather make a bit of money from your collection, you can always consider selling your old VHS tapes. Many people still maintain collections of VHS tapes and are often looking to add to them. It is worth checking if you have any rare tapes on your hands, as these could potentially sell for a pretty penny to the right collector.

Landfill Disposal

As a last resort, if recycling or repurposing options are not available, dispose of VHS tapes in the landfill responsibly. Remove any non-recyclable components, such as plastic cases or metal parts, and dispose of them separately. While landfill disposal should be avoided whenever possible, taking steps to minimize environmental impact is essential if this is the only viable option.

Digitize your VHS collection with EverPresent

VHS tapes are often home to more than just old movies. In many cases, treasured family memories are stored on these tapes, with videos chronicling everything from weddings to baby’s first steps. But disposing of your old VHS tapes doesn’t mean disposing of your memories.

Before you take any of the steps we’ve listed above, consider digitizing your collection with EverPresent. That way, you can get rid of those bulky tapes cluttering up your space but not your memories.

Our team digitizes over 100,000 video tapes each year and takes a personalized approach to every project, no matter the size. Whether you’re converting 5 tapes or 500, our convenient home pickups or local drop-off points make it easy to get your tapes to us. And with a no-commitment quote, you know exactly how much your project will cost before you start.

Get in touch with the team today and start digitizing your memories with EverPresent.