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8 Ways to Properly Dispose of Musical (Electronic) Equipment.

Updated: Apr 13, 2020

Electronic Musical Equipment is just like any other small household appliance, such as your dishwasher or trash compactor, or mini-refrigerator. When it stops working, you want to dispose of it properly, doing as little damage to the earth as possible.

  1. First of all, I recommend that you make do with what you have for as long as you possibly can. This will save you money, and give you time to search for a replacement piece of musical equipment. Because all musicians know how expensive equipment is. If you watch my video, you will see the part where I show all of the red duct tape I have used to keep my amplifier working, in spite of its defects.

  1. Call your local music stores (Guitar Center, Sam Ash, etc.) to see if they recycle old, non-working equipment.

  2. Put it out on the curb for “Bulk-Trash” day in your neighborhood. Be sure to adhere to Code Compliance so that you are not fined for putting out trash at the wrong time of the month.

  3. When you put it out on the curb, a passerby may find use for your equipment, thus giving it a new home and new hope for repair or repurposing.

  4. Take it to the City Recycling Center. Check your city website for bulk trash and disposal procedures. Your city has procedures because they want to prevent soil and water contamination in your community. Never dump your equipment illegally.

  5. Donate your equipment to a recycling program - if you can find one. In the paragraphs that follow, I contacted several, and they do not take musical equipment.

  6. See if the Brand Model of equipment can be returned to the Maker for recycling. In the paragraphs that follow, my personal research found that recycling/ecycling is not addressed by Fender.

  7. If it is still working (which is NOT the expectation here - we are addressing old, obsolete, nonworking, dead equipment), then donate it to a nonprofit, such as Salvation Army, Goodwill, churches, Veterans, etc.

  8. In summary, be a good citizen - especially now, so close to Earth Day - and properly dispose of your nonworking musical equipment. quoted the EPA in stating that “Donating or recycling consumer electronics conserves our natural resources and avoids air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by manufacturing virgin materials.”

But Sweetwater’s most compelling reminder is that “components inside your music and audio gear are made of heavy metals like lead, mercury, and cadmium.” And putting them into the trash or landfill will end up in in rainwater runoff, infiltrating our water supply. And their last suggestion was to consider Trade-In programs sponsored by Walmart, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft. I clicked on Microsoft’s End-Of-Life Management Program because the wording “end-of-life” aligned with my goal. However, Microsoft is only accepting specific electronic equipment and they list what they are accepting. Also, being a mail-in program, my 75 lb amplifier would cost too much to ship. Walmart’s program was equivalent to Microsoft – only specific cell phones, tablets, game consoles, and voice speakers.

One discrepancy I found is that they stated that the best place to help you find out what to do with you obsolete equipment is to go to an “E-cycling Central Page” created by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). However, I had no luck finding this page. When the link did not work, I went directly to the TIA webpage, but I found no information on recycling.

I also went to to search the keywords “recycle,” “ecycle,” and “e-cycle,” and “dispos*,” but none of these terms were found. I also went to the “Product Care” tab, and Manuals, and FAQ’s where I searched these terms, but these terms were not addressed.

The Mr. Appliance article also suggested contacting your local salvage yard or scrap yard to see if they would purchase it. They also suggesting donating unwanted appliances to non-profit groups, thrift stores, and churches - many of whom will pick them up - IF they are working. But this blog is all about equipment that is obsolete, broken, and basically waste because they have been used to their full capacity.


“How and Why to Recycle Music Gear”

How to Responsibly Get Rid of Old Appliances

"My Amp Died! (How to Properly Dispose of Electronic Musical Equipment)"

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