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D’Addario launched PlayBack, the first sector-specific collection system: discount coupons for musicians who return old strings.
Mistreated, broken after too much strumming, destroyed by the excessive enthusiasm of musicians in a rock ‘n roll spree: we are talking about guitar strings, synonym to rebellion, freedom and above all finger calluses. Long nylon or metal strings that, after being replaced by new ones, end up in unsorted trash. But times are changing: one of America’s biggest string producers, D’Addario, launched a campaign to recycle them.
D’Addario’s Long-Island plant produces 700 thousand strings a day. The company recently started PlayBack, the first collection system to allow strings to be recycled.
In the U.S. alone, over 2.6 million guitars were sold in 2015. At least 700 tons of strings end up in the dump every year: two and a half times the weight of the Statue of Liberty, as D’Addario says.
For now, American municipal recycling systems don’t collect musical instrument strings because of the metals and alloys they are made of. The question is partially solved by D’Addario, which already collected about 70 thousand strings. This quantity is still far from the 300 thousand goal the company set for itself for the end of this year, but D’Addario is optimistic.
The PlayBack project rewards consumers with a point every quarter pound (113.4 g) of strings they return, the equivalent of a 6-string set for acoustic guitar. The points can be used to buy new strings, picks or any other product sold on the company’s online store. Musicians also have the option to donate their old strings and fund the D’Addario Foundation, which collects funds to support musical activities in difficult communities all around the U.S.