Attention local musicians. Don’t throw out those old, broken guitar strings. This weekend, those broken strings could get swapped for new ones…and help the environment.
On Saturday, March 14, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Martel Music will take part in “Playback,” a recycling event at their store on the corner of Whiting Street and W. Main Street in Plainville. Musicians who bring their old strings to the recycling drop box at Martel Music will receive a package (or have their guitar restrung with) D’Addario NYXL or nickel bronze acoustic strings, while supplies last.
The event is sponsored by D’Addario and TerraCycle, an innovative recycling company that has become a global leader in recycling hard-to-recycle materials.
“As a musician, you can or do change strings pretty often on a guitar, bass, acoustic or electric and you throw away your strings, let’s say, every time you change them because that’s just what you did for years, decades,” said Corey Martel, owner of Martel Music. “I don’t think a lot of people realize you can recycle strings—guitar strings or any instrument really, but I don’t know if you can just drop them in your normal recycling bin at home.”
Martel explained that once the drop box collects about two pounds worth of strings, the materials will be shipped to the D’Addario. These strings are recyclable due the fact that they’re made from different blends of metals, and these materials span from phosphor to bronze to nickel to steel. According a press release from TerraCycle, “the collected metal strings will be converted into recycled alloys which are commonly utilized in the construction of guitar necks and the recycled nylon will be used in automotive applications.”
“The feel, the sound, the look, the tension, all these things change with all the different kinds of materials they are using so it’s not just one, it’s a mixture,” said Martel. “That’s probably also why it’s tricky to recycle them because there’s so many different materials—some strings are nylon, some are steel, there’s coatings on the strings too sometimes to protect them.”
While the “Playback” recycling box may be new to Martel’s shop, he and the shop are not new to the area. Martel opened in 2017, saying that he and his team loved the area due to many factors—the population and demographics, and the great music program offered through the schools. They were so impressed by the town’s music education, that they offer rental and sale of band instruments.
“There’s a lot behind music that isn’t just fun” said Martel, “it’s great to help your social activities, your confidence, math skills and science skills, and all these different things that are brought into a musician by learning, by reading music or just playing an instrument, whether that’s a band instrument or a rock band instrument.”
The “Playback” recycling box is now a permanent fixture in Martel Music, and musicians are invited to come down to the store to recycle their strings during business hours—from 11 a.m. to 6p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Martel Music also offers a selection of music classes, and more information can be found by contacting the store by calling (860) 479-5188, or by visiting their website www.MartelMusicStore.com.