Recycling obsolete and unwanted audio visual items

Unless you are under 25 it is very likely you have old audio tapes, VHS, CD’s and DVD’s you no longer need, and maybe can’t even play anymore. If your parents are getting to a certain age then the prospect of helping them downsize may be looming! I went on a mission to see how I could rehome, upcycle and recycle these items.

The scale of the problem is huge, apparently there are 1.5 billion tapes lurking in the nations cupboards!


Of course it’s always best to see if someone else might want your items.

Local charity shops are mostly not taking VHS and audio tapes. But they may still be taking CD’s and DVD’s best to call and check, or pop in and ask, before making a special trip.

If you have special editions of films that may have a resale value, check eBay and see what  you might get.

Freecycle, Gum Tree, Next Door, local Facebook groups and the Olio app are all great ways of rehoming items in good working condition. Which one is best depends on your area.


Defined as turning the items into something else while often still resembling their original form.

I had heard about people pulling the VHS and audio tape out of the box and knitting with it. This seemed like a great idea (as I knit) until I discovered that the toxic chemicals, especially chromium, that come off the tape when it is handled would not be good for me!

A popular option is using DVD’s and CD’s to scare the pigeons off your fruit and vegetables on your, balcony, garden or allotment.

Hanging from a fence to deter pigeons at my allotment.

I discovered the Urban Beachcomber on Facebook @UrbanBeachComberMania. He makes art out of everyday items including audio and VHS tapes. You need to cover the cost of the postage but it’s not very much for a box of tapes. Just drop him a message via FB or his website to see if he needs materials, and to get the address.

Some of my items are most likely in this stunning piece!

There is also a company turning VHS tape boxes into gift boxes for booze! They are also planning to use the tape for another project. Note; I haven’t had any personal interactions with them. Contact details on their web site.


For most VHS / audio tapes recycling is the only option as people don’t want them. Especially home recorded tapes. Lots of the companies recommended on websites no longer seem to be in business. I have listed all of these here and my interactions with them to help you make informed choices and not waste your time.

CDVDS website blog – covers a range of things to do with your old disks. The places listed seem to not be in business anymore, see their individual listings below.

EMS Europe – stopped taking domestic tapes a while ago, and now their website seems to no longer work.

Green Ant Plastic Recycling  – can only take commercial quantities.

Green Disk – American company who do tape recycling. I checked if they had any UK or European offices / counterparts but they don’t.

Juz Electronic – Did not respond to my email request for information about domestic recycling.

London Recycling – emailed but no response. Website now seems to be out of use.

My Zero Waste blog post on recycling audio tapes – unfortunately The Recycling People mentioned in this post have gone out of business.

Polymer Reprocessors Limited – left them a number of voice messages but no response. Web site seems to not be working any more.

Revive IT Recycling – Charge minimum of £50 plus VAT for DVD and CD recycling, can’t take the boxes.

Scrap DVD shop in Southend – I found this news article but couldn’t find any details of the shop online.

The Recycling People – emailed but no response. See My Zero Waste Blog post above.

Terracycle have a box for VHS tapes, but it’s an expensive option. £142 for 62 tapes and £239 for £167 tapes without the boxes. They also have a mixed media box. 

The Butterfly Garden in Cheltenham are taking tapes for recycling, just have to pay the postage or drop them off.

Let me know in the comments below if you have found any other recycling options.


One thought on “Recycling obsolete and unwanted audio visual items

  1. Hello,
    Interesting read as always. The shop in Southend probably never existed. Southend News Network claims to be a satirical news network and should not be taken too seriously.

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