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Columns > John Whitler

Published: 2007/03/21
by John Whitler

Possibly the Scariest Question You Ever Asked: Mom Where Did All My Tapes Go?

I have been away from home several years now, but was fortunate to leave lots of memorabilia cluttered in my bedroom. I knew I was pushing it by not dealing with my stuff, but did not realize the impact of coming home over Christmas to see my room transformed. My stuff was all gone, not even stashed in the attic. I thought, oh crap, what about all of my old Phish tapes?
Of course I had not listened to the tapes in many years, but always enjoyed popping in a favorite set whenever I was home. Having to say, Mom, where did all of my tapes and CDs go? was not a question I was prepared to ask. The quality of music available now was far superior, but there was something comforting about having my tapes around whenever I was home.
I was fortunate that the tapes were not thrown to the curb; they were stashed in the garage, or as my mom said, All of your shit is out in the garage. Please donate or throw away what you want, but dont bring it back in the house.
So what the hell am I going to do with my 300+ Phish tapes and other bootlegs? Can I really just throw it all away? After a few hours of thinking and reminiscing with a few classics, I started to pursue some alternatives to throwing them away. It was harder than I thought and knew there were other conscious fans out there that were thinking, How can I keep my tapes out of the landfill?
Tapes and CDs can have a huge impact on the environment. According to the Worldwatch Institute, more than 45 tons of used CDs are discarded globally every month. CDs and DVDs are made from mainly plastics and metals, such as aluminum, polycarbonate (a type of plastic made from crude oil and natural gas), lacquer made from acrylic, gold, chemical dyes partially made from petroleum products, and numerous other materials such as water, glass, silver and nickel. When they are manufactured and eventually disposed, they can release chemicals that contribute to global warming and create environmental and health problems. When we ‘reduce’ – like borrowing a DVD from the library instead of buying it, reuse or recycle them, or download music from the internet, we conserve natural resources and decrease the quantity and toxicity of our trash. For information on the Life Cycle of a CD visit this website.
Recycling also has a significant economic benefit. According to EPAs Jobs Through Recycling page, the recycling and reuse industry consists of approximately 56,000 establishments that employ over 1.1 million people, generate an annual payroll of nearly $37 billion, and gross over $236 billion in annual revenues. This represents a significant force in the U.S. economy and makes a vital contribution to job creation and economic development.
Luckily for environmentalists there is a website,, that provides resources on how to recycle almost anything that can be recycled, and even has a searchable database to find the closest recycler in your area. Unfortunately the selection of places to recycle tapes, and CDs for those going completely digital, is not that large.
After doing some research and making a few phone calls, I have decided to send my old tapes and CDs to Green Disk. They offer a variety of services at a low price. Ill end up paying $6.95 + shipping for 20 lbs. or less.

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