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Rock ‘n’ roll meets recycling

United States – Among musicians, D’€™Addario is a household name as it has been manufacturing instrument strings for over three centuries. Its factory in Long Island, USA, operates ‘€˜around the clock’€™ to create 700 000 strings per day. Now the company has launched the world’€™s first-ever collection scheme for used strings called ‘€œPlayBack’€ to make sure all of them are properly recycled.

More than 2.6 million guitars were purchased in the USA last year, representing over US$ 1 billion in sales revenues. Meanwhile, no less than 1.5 million pounds (approaching 700 tonnes) of instrument strings are dumped in American landfills on an annual basis. ‘That is as much as two and a half Statues of Liberty,’ D’Addario comments.

And yet, municipal recycling systems in the USA do not accept instrument strings because of the metals and alloys from which they are made. The good news is that D’Addario’s collection scheme, which covers strings of all possible instruments, has amassed almost 70 000 strings from across the USA.

This is still well short of the manufacturer’s objective of 300 000 by the end of this year. However, D’Addario has teamed up with recycled products pioneer TerraCycle and remains optimistic about hitting its target.

Eco Points

The Playback programme awards consumers with so-called Players Circle points for every quarter pound (113.4 grams) of strings handed in, a weight equivalent to six sets of acoustic guitar strings, seven sets of electric guitar strings or two sets of bass guitar strings. These points can be redeemed against purchases of new strings, plectrums or other music-related merchandise in the company’s online shop.

Alternatively, customers have the option of donating their strings to raise money for the company’s charity, the D’Addario Foundation, which helps fund musical activities in underprivileged communities throughout the USA.

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