ReTune: Nick's Recycling Centre Visit

“What happens to instruments that have met their finale”?

We will always try to donate, repurpose or repair any instruments that are collected on our ReTune recycling scheme. Many however, are simply beyond any sort of musical redemption and their Morendo is complete.

In collaboration with our local recycling partner, Willshee’s, today I visited their amazing and ground-breaking waste management plant, where I can guarantee that nothing ends up in land fill. Everything, yes, everything, is recycled or recovered for further use.

How do Willshee’s process our ReTune instruments once we have identified that they have come to the end of their life? Let me explain and show you what I found on today’s visit.

Prior to collection the Normans team separate everything into categories; brass, other metals (i.e. nickel, monel, etc.), wood, plastic and other materials such as nylon cases.

The brass and other metals, as you would expect, are simply sent away for melting down and reused. Who knows, that old 1980’s baritone could soon be a brand new trumpet...or a school bell?!

All woods are shredded and then a large magnet conveyor removes any metal elements, such as strings, tailpieces, tuning pegs etc. The wood is then processed to be used in either MDF formation or SRF (Solid Recovered Fuel) to generate heat and power.

Plastics are ground and recycled, with all small metal elements automatically removed by their conveyor/magnet separator.

All nylon, foam and other case materials are again shredded and their hi-tech machinery with infrared scanners and separators puts the materials into two recovered categories; SRF and RDF (Refuse Derived Fuel) again for use in power stations for the generation of heat and power, therefore eliminating the need for fossil fuels.

Ben from Willshee’s could not have been more helpful, concise and professional as he showed me around their vast plant, clearly explaining each stage of the recycling and recovery process.

Willshee’s have invested millions into their state-of-the-art plant and myself and the Normans Education team are pleased and reassured to be part of this Music Industry first, for a sustainable and ethical recycling scheme for our preloved instruments.

Find out more about how our ReTune recycling scheme works