How to recycle guitar strings and other guitar equipment

Playing guitar – like any hobby – can produce a decent amount of waste. From disposing of old strings, to getting rid of instruments once they’re past their prime – here’s how to recycle your guitar parts in an environmentally-friendly way.

 

Strings 

You should be changing your guitar strings regularly – but what do you do with the old ones?

Guitar strings, with the exception of nylon strings, are made from metal, and can be recycled. You can take old strings to your local scrapyard to be recycled, and you might even make some money off of it, since many scrap yards offer compensation for metal junk. Your best bet is to save up a collection of old strings and recycle them all at the same time. 

D’addario also offers a string buyback program, which lets you take your old and unwanted to strings to one of their partner locations for recycling. Click here to learn more

 

Amps/gear 

Every guitarist has gone through some destroyed amps, fried pedals, and other broken gear. Instead of tossing it, consider putting it for sale on sites like Reverb or Craigslist. Even broken gear has a market – Reverb has a special category for non-functioning gear. Enterprising tinkerers might be able to repair the gear for sale, or else use parts for projects. 

If you don’t get any bites, you can also take the gear to a scrap yard. 

 

Unwanted/broken guitars

Unfortunately, guitars don’t last forever. If you find yourself with old, unwanted guitars, here are a few things to do with them: 

Donate them: Many programs, including Guitars Not Guns, Music is Art, and Guitars 4 Vets collect used instruments and put them in the hands of those who need them. Most organizations accept only functional used guitars, so if yours is damaged or broken, check with the organization’s guidelines. 

Sell them: There’s likely someone out there who wants the challenge of fixing up an old guitar – or who needs parts! 

Trade them in: Several retailers offer buyback programs for used gear. Check out these options (but make sure to read all of the details):

Get crafty: There are plenty of cool ways to repurpose an old guitar – as a planter, birdhouse, and more! Check out this guide to guitar crafts. 

Recycle them: Electric guitars are e-waste. Check your local government’s guide to recycling e-waste in your area. 

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