What to do with those old VHS tapes

Do you have a suggestion for recycling VHS tapes beyond Craigslist, Freecycle, etc.? I've read you shouldn't put them in your garbage due to chemicals on the black tape.
Maureen, Port Moody

Oh VHS tapes, those were the days. If the ones you own are too damaged to view and hence donate or give away, recycling is an option. The Recycling Council of B.C. has a great website with an easy-to-use search engine, or what they call the RCBC Recyclepedia. All you have to do is select the type of material you want to recycle -- in this case, "electronic," then the item, "VHS tapes," and select the city you live in. It's that simple.

The bad news from the Recycling Council of B.C. is that "VHS and audio cassette tapes are difficult to recycle because the ribbon of tape cannot be recycled, only the plastic portion. Some companies request that you take the ribbon out of the cassette before you drop them off." I won't keep you in suspense, though. The results for your area are: London Drugs - Green Deal Recycling Program at or Pacific Mobile Depots. Given RCBC's cautionary note, I'd suggest calling ahead before you start pulling out reels of tape. I'm not aware of chemicals found on or leaching from the tape. You could always wear gloves if you're concerned.

Live outside of B.C.? Check out Earth 911 and search VHS tapes, then enter your postal code or city to find a recycling depot near you.

Lindsay Coulter gives you the straight goods on living green. Send your questions to For more great tips, visit The David Suzuki Foundation at

More on