Keep VHS and Cassette Tapes Out Please!

Recycling Rules

VHS Tapes are NOT recyclable in the Sioux Falls mixed recycling bin.

Today, VHS and Cassette tapes sit around in basements and closets, gathering dust, while the old videos and audio stored on them slowly degrade. VHS and cassette tapes are a classic example of a dead technology. Replaced by DVDs, CDs, and digital media, there are too many of them to be valuable and they’re still not old enough to be interesting. Thrift stores often even turn them down as donations.

Why VHS tapes DO NOT go in the recycling bin:
If one VHS or cassette tape makes it in the recycling bin, it can cause great damage to the recycling equipment. The “stringy” makeup of VHS tapes are horrible for the process and can completely shut down the equipment if they get wrapped up (Learn more about  the problems caused by stringy items in Sioux Falls).

Should they go in the landfill then? NO

VHS tapes are made with plastics that will never biodegrade, and ribbon that is coated with iron oxide and other metals, some of which are hazardous – this earns them the classification of electronic waste, or “e-waste”, which means you shouldn’t just dump your old tapes in the landfill—as those metals may eventually leach out, potentially contaminating the surrounding water and soil.

What should you do with them?

Because it’s so difficult to recycle VHS tapes, there are not a lot of options for recycling them. Luckily, there is a local electronics recycling company in Sioux Falls that accepts them: SEAM. There is a small, per pound fee for processing. You could also potentially find some reuse options, if a thrift store or library will accept them. If you have a rare or collectible movie on VHS, you may be able to sell it online using a site like Ebay.


Thank you for keeping VHS tapes out of the recycling bin!