How to recycle audio cassette tapes

Filed in Recycle by on February 10, 2010 19 Comments
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Recycle your audio cassette tapes with the Recycling people

Recycle your audio cassette tapes with the Recycling people limited

If you’re having a declutter; the chances are you’ll come across some old, unloved and unwanted items.

Technology moves so fast and the cassette tapes of my teenage years are pretty defunct now. You often have to go to a specialist Hi Fi Shop to buy equipment to play tapes because most people have switched to CDs and MP3s

If you’ve got a drawer stuffed with old cassette tapes, how can you recycle them?

As you’ll be aware, the 3 R’s are reduce, reuse, recycle – they are in that order for a purpose. The best idea is reuse; so gather than together, dust them off and donate to a charity shop, offer on Freecycle or give away to friends.

If that doesn’t work, you could reuse them in a crafty way. If you fancy a creative project, there are plenty of ideas on the instructables website. You’ll find all sorts of inspiration from belt buckles, to wallets and even creating a yarn from the tape to crotchet!

If you’re as artistic as I am, and not about to spend your Sunday afternoons crafting presents out of cassette tapes then recycling is your only answer. It’s pretty difficult to do, but most parts of the cassette tapes ARE recyclable. Fortunately, I’ve been talking to Kevin Chilton who runs The Recycling People Limited in Herefordshire.  The Recycling People, as their name suggests take a number of items for recycling, including old audio cassette tapes!

Unfortunately the magnetic tape has to be landfilled, but everything else from your beloved hits of the sixties tapes can be recycled. New products made from the plastics include coat hangers and shower cubicles and Kevin is currently working with a company who MIGHT have the answer to recycling the magnetic tape as well – watch this space ….

Nothing is wasted; even the card inners from tape cases are made into paper logs for burning on open fires.

Due to his own landfill costs, Kevin makes a charge to recycle your cassette tapes – £15 for 50 items or £25 for 150 items, but if you want to sit and pull out the tape yourself and dispose of it, he’ll recycle your goodies for free.

If you’re ready to let your beehive hairdo down, get rid of that tube skirt, banish your white stilettos and it’s time for your beloved musical masterpieces to be laid to rest, then send your package, including payment to

The Recycling People Limited,
Unit 1 Wolf Business Park,
Alton Road,
Ross-on-Wye,
Herefordshire,
HR9 5NB.

Kevin also recycles VHS tapes, CDs and DVDs (Oh, and old blue plastic water pipes and wheelie bins too, but you’re unlikely to have many of those kicking around the house).

If you want to know more, email Kevin: kevin.chilton AT therecyclingpeople.co.uk or call him on 0844 800 3235; but make a cup of tea first – this man is as passionate as I am about recycling!

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About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (19)

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  1. I love this. Another step forward.

    This actually reminds me of the sad sight of, when driving along, looking out my window, noticing the sun sparkle off the endless chain of cassette tapes that line our roads. At least with portable technology we won’t have to put up with that any more!

    Great article.

    Scotty

  2. Alea says:

    Thanks for the links. Though I am embarrassed to confess that I still prefer my VCR to the DVD, so I am still using my VCR tapes.

  3. LJayne says:

    Thanks for this! We have loads of tapes that my hubby has been transferring onto his computer because neither of us has a tape player in our car any more, but he’s also just discovered Spotify which removes the need to do even that. I’m anal enough to remove all the tape myself if they take the rest for free!

    Hubby got our box of old recorded vidoes down from the loft last night to see if there was anything old and cheesy we wanted to watch for Valentines ;-) Lots of them can probably go too.

    Definitely agree that Reduce and Reuse should come first but I do like finding ways of recycling the stuff I used to get attached to before I started my green crusade.

  4. Angie says:

    Nice idea, but was surprised at cost to recycle tapes…know I would not pay £15 for 50 tapes, seems alot, would happily pull out tape myself…….

  5. Poppy says:

    I was thinking of uses for the tape itself and knitting sprung to mind, but knitting what exactly ….. I don’t know! Any ideas?

  6. @Poppy: I can just imagine: the first person to ever wear a jumper made out tape! Love it!

  7. Poppy says:

    @Scotty Stevens:
    Hey, don’t laugh! I knitted a tape today. I’m not much of a knitter and it was very basic garter stitch, but I did manage a whole tape. Have to be careful with the tension as it breaks quite easily, but I think someone with a bit more know how could make a go of it.

    I think this little offering is going to find it’s way onto my son’s Easter Bonnet :)

  8. Mrs Green says:

    @Scotty Stevens: Scotty, I remember seeing this too – it was a common sight in my teen years. We now see cds hanging in people’s gardens instead as bird scarers :)

    @Alea: Well good for you! I still have some VCRs, but no player. I have a video of my 18th Birthday on there and some lovely footage of David Bowie at Live Aid that I still drool over LOL!

    @LJayne: I think pulling the tape out would be therapeutic, so I’m right with you on that one. Did you find something suitably cheesy and romantic to watch today?

    @Angie: Hi Angie, I think it’s great that there is the option. Some will prefer to save the money and pull the tape out, while others don’t mind paying for convenience – the choice is good :)

    @Poppy: :D :D poppy, you are a genius. You need to send me a photo to put up on the site ;)

  9. LJayne says:

    We hired The Time Travellers Wife from Blockbuster in the end. We were choosing some films for the kids for half term and I so loved the book. At least we didn’t buy something to keep and then have to think about doing something with at a later date.

  10. I made a basket from audio tape many moons ago and it is still perfect, no changes! I thought it might change!

  11. Mrs Green says:

    @Alison Bailey Smith: Hi Alison; I love your site and your innovative use of materials. Great news on the basket too; thanks for sharing!

  12. Pippa says:

    I’ve seen some pretty cool things crocheted out of cassette tape, a small evening bag (with dark fabric lining), coin purse (had to have a lining, dunno what kind of), necklace and matching earrings and also hair clips with huuuge tape bows.

  13. valerie says:

    What a great idea! I had no clue that you could craft so many wonderful things out of ‘trash’.

    For any of those arts and crafty people out there, if you are looking for a way to get a startup going, check out this competition- there is $25,000 on the line! http://myoocreate.com/challenges/1#overview

    Mrs. Green, you have a great thing going here, and I love your blog.

  14. Mrs Green says:

    @Pippa: Hi Pippa, these items sound lovely! Did you see them on a website you can direct us to?

    @valerie: Hi Valerie; welcome to the site. Thanks for the link to myoo; it’s a lovely site. I joined up but haven’t had much time to participate yet :)

  15. Pippa says:

    I know I’ve seen the purses somewhere on the web, but I was unable to find them. If I manage to trace the site(s), I promise to post the links! The ‘jewellery’ I saw on a student girl at a party, so no pics on that :(

  16. Teresa Lewis says:

    I’m going to be sending off the cases for recycling then trying to get the tapes converted onto the computer (as I have been meaning to do so for five years) and after that only 9 of the tapes can be recycled as they are the only ones with screws in them and so can be taken apart. The rest have been moulded together and it would be too dangerous to take them apart so I’m going to throw them out with the normal rubbish.

  17. Teresa Lewis says:

    @Teresa Lewis: By separating them from the boxes I will be left with just a shoe box of cassette tapes saving a quarter of the space they originally occupied though. They will take up three quarters of the space they took up before once I’ve sent off the boxes for recycling.

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