Decommissioning of 1″ videotapes

Recently I completed a digitization project for a client who had about 70 x 1″ type-C open reel videotapes.  The client had inherited the tapes from a local TV station, and without a working 1″ machine, the decision was made to outsource the transfer and then decommission the collection.

The tapes were already physically deteriorated and this would likely we the last window of opportunity to save the content.  Once transferred (and verified), the tapes were only taking up valuable real estate on the archive shelves so the client asked if I could also safely decommission the tapes.  Here’s how I did it.

The client wanted the tapes to be disposed/recycled and for the content to be non-accessible.

Step 1 was to dis-assemble the reels by unscrewing the 6 screws on each side of the reel:


Next, using a jigsaw, I cut the magnetic tape right to the hub – this had the dual-purpose of shredding the content and removing the inner aluminum hub for recycling.

The magnetic tape and plastic cases were disposed of in regular municipal garbage.  But the aluminum hubs and reels I set aside to take to a metal recycling facility.


So, in the end I was able to shred the content, and also recycle as much of the materials as possible.

For 70 reels, the waste disposal (cases and magnetic tape) cost me $17 but I earned just over $40 from the metal recycling (note the aluminum hubs and reels were priced differently at my local facility, so best to keep them separated).

Good luck!