Update: April 19th 2016
Project Get Reel is now in full swing in Toronto, Ontario. Check out their website at projectgetreel.com and remember to consider the environment before disposing of your old VHS tapes. Please pass the word and reshare.
I’ve succumbed to the realization that the odds of my popping in a VHS for family movie night are not good.
That leaves me with a decision. What to do with my multitude of classic treasures?
If you grew up before digital media, you likely have a similar collection taking up space in your basement, crawl space, or in a worst case scenario – your living room. Most of you probably no longer own a VCR.
Welcome to the “I can’t believe I spent $25 each on these”, club.
Last year a co-worker explained how cathartic it felt to dispose of three garbage bags full of VHS tapes at the dump. Thrillers, comedies, Dances with Wolves, he didn’t care. They all went.
That’s one solution.
But not mine.
Selling your collection is an option, but not a great one. While some of the more unique films may be valuable, the bulk would go untouched on a Dollar Store shelf. Valuable VHS movies are often limited to rare, discontinued, banned or exploitive movies, schlock horror, and an occasional Disney classic.
Simply put, the VHS genre is not old enough to be interesting, and too common to be desired.
Keeping your collection, banking on the chance that values will skyrocket in twenty years, is an option. But that’s the hoarder in you talking.
If you have an artistic calling, or a knack for building things, the creative possibilities are endless. Check out what the medium has to offer:
Barring a guest appearance on ‘Hoarders’, or an original exhibit at the Guggenheim, most of us will eventually face ‘the great purge’.
And when that time comes, consider this.
In the province of Ontario (Canada) alone, an estimated 2.26 billion VHS tapes were purchased. That’s one province – one country.
Landfill is not an option.
So what is?
In 2015 a privately funded VHS tape recycling program called ‘Project Get Reel’ started up in Toronto Ontario. Every component of a VHS tape is recyclable, the challenge is in individually dismantling each tape. Project Get Reel takes this into account, and has devised a way to both help the environment, and create employment opportunities for low skilled and disabled workers. A win win situation.
Recycling of VHS and music cassette tapes is not unique to Canada, programs exist or are in development across the world. But we have a long road ahead.
When the time comes for you to face ‘the great purge’, I urge you to consider the environment and recycle. Hopefully by that time, recycling of VHS tapes will be the norm, not the exception.
For me, my collection will be transformed later this Spring.
Until next time…