Can You Recycle Guitar Strings? (And Are They Toxic?)

The guitar is one of the numerous wonderful string instruments that releases melodious tunes. It’s also great that there are several types, which means you have diverse options. However, you always have to ensure the strings are well-tuned if you want the best sounds. At times, that includes changing a few or even all of them.

So, if you’ve been getting busy with your music and been burning through many guitar strings, how do you dispose of them? Are guitar strings recyclable? Or, is their waste disposal going to do some damage to the environment?

Well, we’ll answer these questions in this blog post. But, if you’d also like to know if the strings are toxic, corrosive, and super-creative ways to dispose of guitars, please read on.

Let’s get started!

Are Guitar Strings Recyclable?

The world is moving at a fast, destructive rate regarding waste disposal. Our plastic waste seems to be getting to serious parts of the aquatic world and wreaking unmentionable havoc. That’s why we must prioritize proper waste disposal.

Now, if you’re environmentally sensitive, you’ll know that where you put your waste matters, and that includes your guitar strings. If you use a lot of them yearly, you likely have quite the collection already. So, you may be looking to dispose of them properly.

You can recycle your guitar strings because of the material they’re made from. But, of course, there are different types of guitars, which means they also have different strings.

However, that’s not a problem regarding recycling, especially since major musical instruments production companies are taking it upon themselves to recycle all types of guitar strings.

Additionally, these companies are even attaching rewards to recycling. For instance, you can get as much as $1 for meeting up with the minimum weight of recyclable guitar strings. They’re also making guitar strings from recycled items, cutting back on the consumption of nonrenewable resources.

You can either recycle your guitar strings at a local recycling company or take them to a metal recycling company. Alternatively, you could choose to participate in the rewards musical instrument production companies facilitate.

What are Guitar Strings Made of?

There are different types of guitars, and each is made with unique materials. For instance, there are acoustic guitars, and the strings are made from brass. We’ll delve further into this by highlighting the different available types.

1. Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a very clean metal that’s used to make guitar strings. It’s non-corrosive, making it an excellent material for surfaces that are likely to come into contact with water. Of course, your guitar strings won’t come in contact with moisture apart from the sweat on your fingers, so you can be assured of no chances of corrosion.

Manufacturers are using stainless steel to make guitars these days because it’s excellent for fretting. It’s also very recyclable, but before you have to recycle the strings, you’ll certainly get good use out of them because of their durable features.

2. Brass

Brass is a common construction and domestic material because it’s difficult for bacteria to adhere to it. So, it’s a great material for guitar strings if you’re big on hygiene. Brass is also very strong and durable, and it’s commonly used to make acoustic guitars.

However, its solid features make it a difficult material to recycle, but it’s certainly possible. It can be recycled repeatedly and is even one of the most recyclable alloys in the world.

It’s not common to find a local recycling center that accepts brass materials, but on the other hand, you can find a recycling company that does. Of course, another alternative will be to tote your strings to any musical company that recycles them.

3. Nickel

Most electric guitar strings are made from nickel, which is a cheap material that you can also recycle. However, it’s typically used to produce coins and batteries, and the former doesn’t need to be recycled.

You can recycle your guitar strings made from nickel, but this material is fairly resistant to extreme heat, so it must be melted for a long time. It’s still possible, but it’s a difficult procedure.

Are Guitar Strings Toxic?

There have been deliberations about the toxicity of guitar strings. Since they’re made from metals, there’s a belief that the presence of chemical coatings on them can lead to skin problems and allergic reactions.

However, the materials guitar strings are made from are far from toxic, unless, of course, you’re licking them. Even then, you’d have to lick these strings every day repeatedly for months before it can be hazardous to your health.

Nickle, brass, stainless steel, and other materials used for manufacturing guitar strings are difficult to absorb into the body. So, even when you’re strumming your strings on end, it’s very unlikely that your skin is absorbing the chemicals on these materials.

Manufacturers claim that the reason they coat guitar strings with these chemicals is to protect them from corrosion. Additionally, these chemicals prevent the buildup of sweat, dirt, and grime on your strings.

Now, although professional musicians are likely to interact with guitar strings for long hours every day for years, they’re only likely to develop dermatitis problems if they have sensitive skins.

Of course, allergic reactions are also possible, but it’s unlikely because guitar strings are toxic. Instead, it could be because of different body compositions or hypersensitivity.

However, manufacturers claim that guitar strings have similar coatings to the chemicals on kitchen utensils and many other metals we come in contact with regularly.

Can Guitar Strings Rust?

Well, it depends on the material your guitar strings are made from. Some materials are non-corrosive, like stainless steel, and won’t rust for a very long time. Other materials that aren’t non-corrosive may not necessarily rust unless you bring them in regular contact with water.

One of the most common materials used to make guitar strings is nickel alloy. However, if you don’t use them for a long time, they’ll begin to rust, and that’s also a similar reaction for guitar strings.

If you leave your guitar in its box for long, it’ll likely begin to rust. But, of course, that’s if the strings are made from nickel. Other materials are less likely to elicit this sort of reaction.

This is one of the factors that can warrant changing your strings. However, if you notice the rust at its beginning stages, then you can easily get rid of it before it gets any worse. We’ll show you how to do that now, so please, read on.

You’ll need a string cleaner, a microfiber cloth, and a small towel. You’ll need to place the towel between your strings and your guitar’s fretboard. That way, you won’t press the rusty strings against it.

Next, you can spray the strings with a good string cleaner and use the microfiber cloth to clean the rust. It dries fast, so you’ll have to spray a sufficient amount. Keep wiping until the rust comes off completely, and you can prevent this from happening again by keeping a microfiber cloth permanently in your guitar case. That way, you’ll always be able to wipe off sweat, dirt, and grime immediately after use.

What Can You Do With an Old Guitar?

Guitars are built to serve you for a long time, but they’ll eventually wear out. So, you’ll have to find a way to dispose of them in an environmentally conscious manner. Then, of course, you can recycle them, but first, try repurposing.

That’s why we’ll show you five different things you can do with an old guitar. Enjoy!

1. Dollhouse

You need to be artsy for this hack. First, you have to saw enough space off your broken guitar. Then, your target is a shape that’ll make the dollhouse easy to see while also giving you enough space to place the dollhouse accessories in.

Then, you can furnish it accordingly. Some ideas are a small wardrobe, shelf, rocking chair, a bed, of course, and any other miniature furniture you can lay your hands on. You can stand the furnished dollhouse against a wall in your room or living room. It’s also an amazing gift for friends and family.

Lastly, don’t forget to include LED lights to give the house an attractive glow.

2. Guitar Bookshelf

For this hack, you’ll need some carpenter glue and slim plywood. Envision a bookshelf, and you can give yours enough compartments as you deem fit.

Take off the top of the guitar entirely to make enough room for the bookshelf. Then, saw in sizable parts that’ll hold the plywood and serve as the base for your shelf. You can then use the glue to hold the plywood in the places you’ve sawn in.

Finally, you can choose to paint it a cool color or leave your usual guitar color on.

3. Guitar Kitchen Shelf

Here’s another hack for repurposing your old guitar. You’ll also need some carpenter glue and three pieces of flat plywood. You can include more than three compartments, though; it depends on how large your condiments are.

Saw in a thin-enough space at the two sides of the guitar and use the carpenter glue to hold the plywood in place. Then, you can hang the finished products in your kitchen, place your condiments on the shelves and enjoy!

4. Standing Planter

An old guitar makes an amazing planter. You can carve sizable holes out of it for the branches of the plants to grow from. You’ll have to fill the internal part with sand, transplant your crawling plants and arrange for the branches to grow out of the holes you carved.

To achieve this, you’ll have to take off the top of the guitar, fill it with enough sand and stick it back on. Upon completing this hack, you can hang your guitar on the wall in your living room, bedroom, or anywhere that strikes your fancy.

5. Makeshift Flower Vase

Here’s another tip for gardeners. You can plant your favorite flowers in your old guitar. It already has a sizable hole where the plants can protrude from. So, all you have to do is fill it with enough sand, plant or transplant your seeds, and you’ll be good to go.


Recycling and proper waste disposal are no longer a choice – they’re now compulsory to preserve the environment. As such, manufacturers, governments, and consumers all have a role to play.

How you dispose of your waste matters, the materials for production matter to producers, and it’s up to the government to provide proper waste disposal methods. This article has touched on the various essentials for recycling a guitar in its entirety. So, when you have to dispose of yours, we hope you make informed and environmentally sensitive decisions.

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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.