The most secure ways of destroying videotapes are burning them, pulverizing them or shredding them. In addition, videotapes can have their data purged through electronic processes such as degaussing. Overwriting the data on the videotape may make it very difficult to recover the original data, but it doesn't destroy it.
Burning a videotape is one of the most secure ways of destroying it, according to Slate.com. Licensed incineration facilities are the best choice for this method because burning electronic media releases toxic chemicals. Shredding is another popular method of destroying tapes. Shredders should reduce the material to pieces no larger than 5 millimeters in any direction; this typically requires a high-security shredder. Data security companies often travel to companies to handle shredding and guarantee security when disposing of the shredded materials.
Before shredding, videotapes often are treated with a degausser, which scrambles the magnetic information on the tape to make it unreadable. Professional quality degaussers, though expensive, should be used for this process, as the less expensive versions tend to be less reliable, Slate.com states.
Old surveillance videotapes from security firms, banks and casinos often must destroyed, as do law enforcement videotapes used to collect evidence. In addition, individuals sometimes want to destroy personal videotapes that contain embarrassing or incriminating data.