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  • VHS Tape: The Scrapper's Kiss Of Death (Advice Needed)

    You can scrap video cassette players and the plastic material in VHS tapes, but you can't scrap the VHS magnetic tape itself. What gives?

    Here's what I know about VHS tapes: they're made out of iron oxide (sometimes chromium), can be erased with specialized media-erasing magnets, and is susceptible to the dreaded sticky shed syndrome if your tapes aren't properly taken care of. VHS tapes have been used in quite unorthodox ways like for data backup, high quality audio recording, or for making reel-to-reel tapes. Because VHS tapes cannot be scrapped/recovered, the only thing you can do with them is arts and crafts.

    In preparation for my grandmother's arrival, I have thought about doing something with those tapes. Of course, I haven't seen any of my pre-recorded tapes in such a long time, and without a working VCR to test them with, I can't just simply toss them into the recycle bins. There was a video that showed you can melt the cassettes in acetone, but I am not going to attempt any chemistry experiments at my house. Shredding the tapes is out of the question. I was hoping that you could extract/recover the iron from the magnetic tapes, like this photo I found from its Wikipedia entry for sticky shed syndrome: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sticky-shed_syndrome

    Basically, I want to know: why aren't tapes scrappable? Pretty soon, these tapes are going to wear off, and when they do, you're going to be stuck with thousands of feet of useless magnetic tape that can't be recorded onto anymore.

    I'll apply my question to audio cassettes, too: I too have tapes that are going to be thrown away. ALL except for one.

  • #2
    Nope, not scrappable or recyclable at all.
    Anyone that ever did have long gone, there just isn't enough around these days to bother.
    towards the end they were hard to get rid of as they're not just plastic, they have contaminants as you mention, but the main problem plastic recyclers found was the tape was ruining their shredding process.
    the tape would wrap itself around the shredders and was labour intensive to manage so everyone steered clear of VHS & cassette tapes.
    Buying eWaste link here