In general, guitar strings are not recyclable in the traditional sense, however, thanks to the D’Addario Playback program that the company recently launched, you can recycle strings with them.
There are a few other ways you can recycle them as well, which we’ll explore later in this article.
Back in April of 2016, D’Addario launched the program where you can ship off your strings in a package, as long as there are 2 pounds of old strings, and you can send it off to a recyclable facility and you’re awarded points after signing up with their program.
Most municipal garbage collecting systems don’t actually accept instrument strings as recyclable material contrary to what some people online say, however, because of D’Addario’s new Playback program, you can ship them off to D’Addario and you’re good to go.
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Music Radar reports that there are approximately 1.5 million pounds of string metal garbage every single year. It’s hard to believe that there is that much trash from just metal guitar strings, but it really puts into perspective how much waste our society produces.
For that reason, every little bit helps.
D’Addario isn’t the first company to implement this kind of program.
The first company to ever conduct a recycling program is Cleartone, however, D’Addario is special in the sense that users of the program are able to send or drop off used guitar strings, from any company to all participating locations, or you can print off a special shipping label from Playback and send it in the mail.
D’Addario will either make a donation to a charity of some kind, or the person who sent the strings can receive loyalty points.
On their page, D’Addario explains that for every 1/4 pound of strings that you send, you can earn either 100 Players Circle points or put $1 towards The D’Addario Foundation.
According to the website, about 1/4 pound equals six sets of acoustic guitar strings, two sets of bass guitar strings, or seven sets of electric guitar strings. Different sets can be mixed in with each other in one single shipment, so the sender doesn’t have to worry about mix and matching different types of strings.
The rewards are given to you based on the weight of the shipment.
After the company has received the package of strings, whether nylon or metal, they’re separated according to the type and all of the metal is melted down and smelted into new materials.
Created in collaboration with TerraCycle, the program is only available in the United States at the moment, but they intend on taking it worldwide over the next few years.
How To Recycle Your Strings Through The Playback Rewards System
1) Go to this website https://www.daddario.com/playback/recycle/
2) Create an account with Player’s Circle – including filling out all of your personal information.
3) Once you’ve signed up, they will send you an email asking you to activate your account.
4) Open up the email and activate your account, and voila, you’re finished the first step.
5) Go to this website: https://www.daddario.com/playback/recycle/
1) a) Once you’ve collected 2 pounds of guitar strings, which should probably take you around a year, you can print off a shipping label from the company and send them off.
As I mentioned above, this program, however, is only available in the United States.
Alternative Ways Of Recycling Your Strings
Another common thing that people can do, if they really so choose, is to simply collect all of their guitar strings over a 1-2 year period, and then take it to a scrap-metal yard and give it to them.
This is a little bit more time-consuming, but chances are, if you’re reading this, you care enough to do so.
According to Premier Guitar, most scrap yards accept guitar strings, however, it’s not something that you should expect to make money from. It’s more of a decision that one makes out of environmental consciousness.
What you can do is set up a 5-gallon pal in your garage and just toss all of your old strings in there. What the scrapyards do is they pay for all of the old metal that people no longer use, and then they melt it down and re-sell it.
According to Ben Juday, who apparently is the founder of Analog Outfitters, it’s much better to toss your guitar strings in the recycling bin than in the trash, because it’s more likely to make it to the recycling stream than if you just toss them in the trash.
He says in the article for Premier Guitar, “Above all, don’t put metal in your trash.” Because scrap-metal yards get so much stuff in them, apparently, what they do is they use a giant magnet that picks up all of the recyclable metals and it all gets pulled to an entirely different place.
Another organization you can look to is the Second Strings Project, which has a website at this link here: https://www.secondstringsproject.org/
They do a similar thing, however, what they do is they recycle guitar strings and send them off to people who need them in other countries I believe.
In the link you can see above, you can find the address at which you can send your strings too. Moreover, unlike the D’Addario program, you can actually send much smaller amounts of strings to them.
Another website that you can go to is direct to the TerraCycle website, rather than going through the D’Addario Playback program.
Some people also suggest using your old guitar strings for a number of different purposes, including things like “hanging pictures” and whatnot. For me, this seems like a lot more work than I’m willing to engage in, so I would just sign up for the D’Addario program or you can use the Second Strings Project.
And finally, you can actually go to your local music store and see if they participate in the Playback recycling system, and you could likely just give them all of your scraps. However, that depends on whether or not they actually participate in the system.
YouTube Video Tutorial
All-in-all, at the moment, it seems like guitar players are limited in terms of their ability to recycle guitar strings unless of course, you’re a United States citizen.
I hope this was helpful to you, make sure to take the time to share it with your friends on social media. I would appreciate that a lot.