Old VHS player with Beta and VHS tapes sitting on top of it

Mom loved to watch soap operas in the afternoon. She worked from home as a seamstress and would sew in front of the TV while her programs were on. After my dad passed away, she supplemented her sewing income with work that sometimes required her to miss her beloved soaps. Luckily, by then, video cassette recorders were available. My brother-in-law Alfred programmed a VCR to record Mom’s soaps and showed her how to rewind the tape and play them.

Years later, Alfred still has a big collection of VHS videotapes of his own. But until recently, he had no VCR to play them. Well, I was determined to find one for him. At first, I could only find refurbished VCRs that did not have a guarantee. With no garage sales and the local thrift store closed down due to the pandemic, my go-to sources for used items weren’t available. Then I got an idea.

Last weekend was our local electronics recycling event. I went to the event and asked one of the workers who were collecting electronics for recycling if they had any VCRs. And they did! It was a clean Sony in good condition. When I told the man I’d take it, he asked me what I would do if it didn’t work. I said I’d bring it back for recycling, of course.

As it turns out, the VCR works, so I don’t need to take it back. And Alfred is happy to have it; he has suitcases full of videotapes that he is sure to enjoy watching for many years to come.

It’s so important to recycle electronics when they’re at their end of life. But it’s even more sustainable to reuse things as long as they still work — just like that old VCR.

Feature image by InspiredImages from Pixabay

By Joanna Lacey

Joanna Lacey lives in New York and has collected thousands of ideas from the frugal habits of her mother and grandmother. You can find her on Facebook at Joanna the Green Maven.