Playback: The World’s String Recycling Program

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A million pounds. That’s two and a half Statues of Liberty. It’s also just about how many pounds of instrument strings the world uses in one year.


But what happens to all those strings after they’ve sung their songs? Until now, they’ve ended up in the dump. So D’Addario is hoping to send them to a better place. Namely, they’re hoping you’ll send them into their new string recycling program, Playback.

As the first company in the U.S. to recycle instrument strings, D’Addario hopes Playback will extend their existing sustainability efforts even further. The program is in partnership with TerraCycle, a company that has made recycling the unrecyclable their mission on a global scale. Now, they’re helping D’Addario turn their waste into worth. It’s all part of D’Addario’s greater mission of creating positive social change while minimizing their carbon footprint.

“What a great idea and so easy,” says Playback participant and guitarist Stan M. “Save up the old strings, throw them in a package and then print out a pre-paid shipping label.”

The rewards of the Playback program go beyond its environmental impact, though. As an extension of D’Addario’s Players Circle, players who donate their old strings will be given Players Circle points, which they can choose to collect and redeem for free gear. Or, players can donate them to the D’Addario Foundation, D’Addario’s charitable grant initiative that helps fund music education programs for children in underserved communities.

They don’t have to be D’Addario strings either. Continues Stan, “[t]he other part of the program, which makes D’Addario stand out, is the fact that they accept other string manufactures for return. To me, that shows a true commitment to a smaller footprint; a model program that I am hopeful others in the industry will follow.”

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