My neighbor is cleaning out decades worth of stuff from her basement, and she didn't know what could and couldn't be recycled, so I went over to help. We collected three full boxes of electrical cords and small electronics, as well as hundreds of VHS and cassette tapes. The electronics went to Best Buy (thank you, Best Buy!) for recycling, and the tapes went to GreenDisk (thank you, GreenDisk!) for recycling. The tapes weighed 64 pounds, and the electronics weighed about the same, so that was 120 pounds worth of stuff diverted from the incinerator. (She'd already thrown away hundreds more tapes, but I couldn't intervene because I didn't know it was happening.)
GreenDisk is doing a lot of awesome, ground-breaking, conscientious stuff. I spoke with owner David Beschen, who told me GreenDisk is working with the entertainment industry in earnest. His company actually makes it cheaper for studios, renters and manufacturers such as Warner Bros., Blockbuster and Technicolor to use his recycling services rather than shred their DVDs and send them to the landfill. His business model is built around sustainability and closing the loop. Much of the plastic GreenDisk gathers is ABS plastic, which is accumulated in 40,000-pound loads (approximately 1.2 million CDs or DVDs). GreenDisk even has a coring machine that takes tape out of cassettes and VHS tapes so the plastic can be recycled. Just one example of closing the loop: Beschen found a company in North Carolina that makes new DVD cases out of old DVD cases. He soon will have Technotrash cans in Blockbuster, Best Buy, and Wal-mart retail outlets! And all his recycling is done in the United States and the materials are then sold to U.S. manufacturers rather than being exported. On top of all this, he uses disabled workers and motivates them by paying them good wages at a job they can feel good about.
64 lbs of tapes packed up for GreenDisk