What Should I do with Old Cassette Tapes

White and black audio cassettes on a light background. Place for text

Mixtapes are just not what they used to be. Nowadays, if you want to create a sort of combination of tracks that get you through the day, then you simply create this thing called a “playlist” on almost any music-sharing application on almost any electronic device. If you cannot find a way to play those old cassettes that your parents or grandparents grew up listening to, then what is one to do with these relics that hold the music and other audio recordings of decades past?

Old and unwanted cassette tapes can be sold online, sold at a pawn shop, recycled, thrown away, or donated. Sites like eBay, Mercari, or the Facebook marketplace allow people to sell anything online. There are also places where items like cassettes can be donated quickly and reused by someone else.

Although I am sure that my parents grew up listening to cassette tapes, I cannot say that I ever had the privilege of having those old tapes bless my ears with a nostalgic sound that takes me back to… well, a time that I cannot remember. However, my parents do have experience in disposing of the larger cousin of the cassette: the video cassette or VHS. Although those types of cassettes are much larger, I am sure that the same methods can be applied in a quick and efficient manner.

Sell Online

The Internet has enabled us to do an almost countless number of things since its inception. One of the most useful and beneficial services that the Internet offers (besides allowing you to read the words I put so much time and heart into) is the buying and selling of unwanted articles from anywhere around the world. A few examples of the sites that exist to fulfill this service are eBay and Mercari, which are sites that I browse almost daily and use on a weekly basis. As I browse, I come across several different kinds of older entertainment formats with one of them being the audio cassette. I assure you that there are people out there who would gladly take those old cassettes of yours off your hands and into their cassette player.

Pawn Shop

LAS VEGAS, NV – NOVEMBER 21, 2016: An unidentified people walking inside of the Cash America Super Pawn Shop Sign. pawn stars

I have visited many pawn shops in my day and I am always impressed with the amount of older formats of entertainment that are present. I guarantee that no matter which pawn shop you visit or where it is located, you will find a vast assortment of older forms of sharing music such as vinyl records, compact disks, and yes, audio cassette tapes. Simply enter one of these establishments with the old cassettes on your person and present them to the person who runs the place. You may not receive a great amount of cash in return for your tapes, but you will be instantly rid of those old cassettes and be giving them the opportunity to be brought to a new home and utilized by someone else.


Green arrows recycle eco symbol vector illustration isolated on white background. Recycled sign. Cycle recycled icon. Recycled materials symbol.

Another good way to instantly rid yourself of these tapes would be to donate them to an establishment that takes old, used items like clothes, furniture, and books and sells them to the public. Places like Deseret Industries and Salvation Army will graciously take those tapes and any other of your unwanted articles off your hands. You will not make any sort of profit off of your donation, but you will surely have those tapes out of sight, out of mind, and ready to be purchased and brought to a new home. Also, just think about how someone who grew up in the generation of the cassette will be able to revisit what they consider the “glory days” of music — or maybe someone from a newer generation might discover the music of the past.


The primary component that makes up almost all cassette tapes is plastic. Being a very recyclable material, you should have no trouble finding a place that would recycle those old tapes of yours. Of course, the tape itself is made of a separate material, so you will need to remove the tape from the plastic container. I am sure that there are places that recycle that sort of material, as well. This option is definitely the most friendly in terms of environmental awareness because the material will not be wasting away and taking up space, but rather fulfilling a new purpose by being made into a new item. Who knows? The cassettes you recycle might be used to make a microwaveable bowl or a video game controller.


Now, if those cassettes are broken in any way and you have no way of fixing them or ridding yourself of them using any of the previously described methods, then I guess you could just throw them away. Please weigh your options carefully before resolving to this ultimatum. Such relics from the world of entertainment sharing are becoming fewer and fewer in number nowadays — which to me is a very frightening thought. All formats used for all forms of entertainment should be treated carefully in the hopes that they can be utilized again one day. But hey, those tapes are yours and you can do whatever you deem necessary for making them no longer belong to you.

To dispose of your cassette tapes, simply drop them in the nearest garbage bin with the rest of the trash that people have thrown away. When the time comes, the contents of that bin will be transported to the nearest landfill where those cassettes will sit without purpose and you will never be able to create your own mixtape like the one from Guardians of the Galaxy or listen to that rare Neil Diamond album that your parents so treasured ever again. Have I changed your mind yet? No? Well, it was worth a shot. Darn these new iPhones and their ability to make older format options irrelevant. Oh boy– I sound like my grandparents. Well, I am sure they would want you to reconsider. Would you do it for them? No? Okay, then.

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