Giving away VHS tapes

Many years ago I was quite the film buff and consequently also built up a quite substantial video collection. However, over time I came to realise that these tapes are just sitting on shelves unwatched and gathering quite substantial amounts of dust.

My tastes have changed and would struggle today to even know what films are in the cinema, let alone take time to go and watch them. With the tapes taking up space that could be more productively used for storing antique documents and maps, it is time to clear them out.

Fortunately, fairly near to to me is a charity shop, so off I went with a bag half filed with books and half filed with VHS tapes (a bag full of books is FAR too heavy!).

To my surprise though, the charity shop refused to take the VHS tapes.

Expecting some Daily Mail type excuse about VHS tapes being sold with unexpected porn clips in them or similar, it turns out that the ban is simply because they got lots of tapes donated, but couldn’t sell them.

While it is obvious that people are switching to DVD for new purchases, I really thought there would still be a large enough user base of VHS players in homes for the second-hand market to support. Seems not.

I could sell the tapes on eBay, but the last time I did that it was SO much hassle per sale to package up the tapes, take them to the allegedly award-winning Post Office where I live and post them out, for a couple of quid per tape that I really can’t be bothered to go though all that again. And that was with the rarer collectable VHS tapes – not just ordinary films.

Likewise, I could probably find some sort of specialist on the other side of London who will take them off me for free, but then I am faced with dozens of trips to dispose of them.

Seems wrong somehow to just throw them in the bin, but if the demand for second-hand VHS tapes is that minuscule, then the bin it will have to be.

Apart from my art-house film collection. That stays – well, at least until I can download them off the internet.

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22 comments on “Giving away VHS tapes
  1. Laura says:

    My local charity shops will take VHS tapes (in east London) and it’s always interesting to see how many duplicate films they have. It seems obligatory for a charity shop to have a copy of ‘You’ve Got Mail’ and ‘Notting Hill’ and in the children’s films ‘Jungle Book’ is always there.

    I’ve even bought a video player for 99p on eBay so it seems tapes won’t be around for much longer.

    Add a post on freecycle for your videos and hopefully they’ll find a happy home.

    • IanVisits says:

      I had thought about Freecycle, but if people aren’t willing to pay 50p for a video tape on the high street, then I suspect the chance that they would be interested in making a special trip to a private home to pick up some tapes would be slight.

    • David Thornton says:

      I got over 50 vhs tapes ( a box full ) i no longer want .I dont want cash. I live in south london Sw8 1js Could you Please collect from my house.please let me know . If thats ok.if not,Could i take a few at a time to your shop. I will give you my address when you have replyed

  2. One word: Freecycle. Another: Freegle. We have given away all sorts of stuff. It’s amazing what other people want. It’s easy and fun and makes you feel good. Go for it.

  3. tim says:

    If people aren’t willing to pay 50p for them in a charity shop, then i doubt you’d have much success on eBay either.
    There’s always the chance that there’s someone round the corner who’d have them/some for free if you list them on Freecycle.

    But then the bottom line is that people don’t really want VHS tapes for the same reason you don’t want them.

    • IanVisits says:

      But then the bottom line is that people don’t really want VHS tapes for the same reason you don’t want them.

      Everyone is giving up watching films?

      Remember, I’m not switching to DVD – but clearing out films I don’t watch, regardless of format they are stored in.

  4. Graham says:

    At this point very few people have working VHS players, and those that do have no interest in acquiring more tapes, because they know it’s a dead end.

  5. vicky-jo says:

    I’d give FreeCycle (or similar service) a go – I think people are prepared to go the extra mile, as it were, for something free, compared to something which costs, even when that’s a low cost. (I realise I’m spouting pop-psychology.)

  6. chris says:

    Hi there i would glady take any tapes that happen to be without certificates on the covers, or tapes.

    If that is of interest just send me an e-mail


  7. Dom says:

    Hi Ian,

    What did you do with them in the end? I’m still watching/collecting VHS tapes! Let me know if you want me to pick them up off you.

    British Heart Foundation are the best places to offload VHS tapes. I reckon this is down to 2 factors.

    1. they have a really good distribution network ( if one shop has too much of one thing off it goes to the next and so on)

    2. they have become the only (charity) shop accross all it’s network to consistently sell (&take) VHS tapes and those who haven’t totally moved to dvd have noticed this enabling BHF to keep their prices high. Up until 2011 their tapes were 49p each. This year they are all priced 99p (in London).

    It’s great you want to see your tapes go to a good home and not the dump! boot sale is an idea but you’ll only get 10p each and the pitch will cost £10!


    • Alison says:

      Hi dom
      Do you still want video tapes? I have about 50 or 60 that I want to give away as am moving to a smaller house in the next couple of months. In fact I have the Samsung video recorder that can go with them if you want a spare too! The collection is made up of the usual ubiquitous mainsteam movies Band of Brothers box set, Notting Hill and Jungle Book, the matrix and some older stuff, clockwork orange, the graduate, rainman, some horror like nightmare on elm street, exorcist, the shining, comedy such as blackadder, Ali G, Fawlty Towers, Jackass, and a few pop vids, Oasis, REM etc. I don’t want anything for them, just don’t want to throw them in landfill either. You’re welcome to pick through the tapes, take what you don’t have and leave me with the rest to give to charity if you like. Let me know.

    • jim b says:

      hey chap are you still interested in vhs vids I’ve got around 150 and want to get rid of them and I’m in the Wimbledon area if you want them their yours

  8. dom says:

    Hey Alison,
    Yes and yes!

    sounds like a nice mix and a vcr too!
    I’m in zone 4 over near Wimbledon but i get around too.


  9. Odiri Ukueku says:

    i would be glad to have your vhs tapes just email me

    • donna M says:

      I have got the whole X-Files series on VHS if you are interested. I also have most of FRIENDS, too – except for perhaps the last two series.

    • Eroll M says:

      Hello Donna,

      I would be really glad to have your x-files tapes if you still have them. Please e-mail me.

    • jim b says:

      same goes for you as Dom my man I’m trying to get rid of all these tapes and don’t want to bin them so if you want any of them their yours you’ve just got to come and get them

  10. cheryl says:

    there is a place in BRISTOL THAT TAKES THEM TO RECYCLE..

    CALLED MEDIA…………………………………………..???????in an industrial site so look on internet

  11. W.Mair says:

    I have over 6 hundred video tapes also lots of box sets

  12. Robert Berry says:

    1200 taps free if you collect I live in wales

  13. Luong says:

    Anyone got “An Affair in Mind” VHS tape?

  14. justin melanson says:

    i need and want some tapes send the tapes at bon accord alberta 1488 53 ave T0K0K0