With the news that Sony stopped producing Walkmans, it’s time to reflect on the now outdated media format many of us grew up on. In recent years, I’ve even come across some audio tape gems at my local thrift store. For a couple quarters, the atmosphere in my car was filled with the dulcet voice of Boy George and Culture Club’s Colour by Numbers for months.
However, patience for rewinding and fast-forwarding audio cassettes doesn’t last long. When recycling cassette tapes, you can always spread the love by donating to thrift stores, but there are also options to mail your tapes to a center that will recycle the actual materials.
A cassette tape has many tiny parts- besides the plastic casing, there are springs and little screws and such. What’s one to do when looking to recycle cassette tapes?
Recycle Reuse Rewind
A few really fun ideas can be found here, at the online studio of Vanesa Moreno.
There really is no limit to the creativity involved in actually making something else out of an old cassette tape. I’ve seen belts, bags, and even wallets, like these from Italy.
Sonic Fabric also recycles old cassette tapes into…fabric. They’re not currently accepting donations, but their neckties and other accessories are really cool! With a little bit of tinkering explained on their website, you can actually listen to the sounds the recycled audio tape makes as you run a tape head over your Sonic Fabric shoulder bag or tie.
Cassette Tape Accessories
This Cassette Tape Tie takes functional apparel to a whole new level. Made by using woven tape from old cassette tapes, this fantastic looking tie actually plays a unique recording of sounds collected in New York City streets and subway stations when you run a tape head over the fabric.
The eco-stylish recycled pouches below are made from reclaimed plastic ribbon from vintage cassette tapes:
For another creative look at reuse, check out this cool illusion made using old cassettes.
Mailing Old Cassette Tapes
If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop to just mail your outdated media, Green Disk can be your place. They accept all forms of electronic media and their cases: diskettes, zip disks, CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, DVDs, video tape, audio tape, game cartridges- you name it! If your items weigh less than 20 lbs, you would choose their Pack-IT service, where you use your own box, and pay for shipping and a recycling fee of $6.95.
Think twice before you simply throw old cassette tapes (or anything for that matter) in the trash- as we’ve demonstrated, there could be a great second life for them!