Arco goes ECO
We are here to make a change, will you join us?
At Arco we pride ourselves in providing musical instruments to all of our students at no additional cost. Sadly, the production of affordable violins has a significant impact on the environment.
We want to raise awareness of how all musical instruments can be given a second life and avoid unnecessary and avoidable environmental impacts.
Much like with the clothes we wear, the cost of repairing an instrument often outweighs the costs of buying a new instrument.
This means many damaged or outgrown instruments end up gathering dust or being chucked in the bin.
To get a rough idea of the impact violins have on the environment, we had a look at materials being used, the average life span of beginner violins in the UK, production and distribution.
The main material needed for building a string instrument is wood. The most common woods used are ebony and pine. Because of the high demand on these woods, many species of ebony and pine are now critically endangered. These types of wood are sourced mostly in Europe, Canada and Brazil. As beginner violins are mostly produced in China, global production lines and shipping these materials leaves a significant carbon footprint.
Beginner violins are often sturdy and long lasting, meaning their life span can exceed 20 years. Within a year of use, small repairs are inevitable, especially when the instrument is being used by a young learner. Every 1-2 years a child will need a larger instrument as they grow. The old instruments that are now too small are often kept at home, gathering dust. When a repair is needed, instruments tend to get replaced as repairing costs often exceed the cost of buying a new instrument. .
Production and distribution
Beginner violins are mostly made in factories in China. They are then shipped to the UK and often shipped within the UK twice more before they end up with their new owner.
To ensure safe distribution, they often come individually packed in bubblewrap, styrofoam
and a cardboard box.
While the final production of a violin happens mostly by hand,
preparing the wood, varnish and rosin happens with diesel fuelled machinery.
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By accepting donations of broken instruments, our team can mitigate the above mentioned factors and detrimental environment impact, alongside adding a social benefit through provision of musical instruments to young people.
Based on our successful one month instrument collection point in April 2022, where collected unused, unwanted and broken string instruments and accessories, we have now set up a long term instrument bank to continue giving new life to broken, unused and unwanted string instruments.
The instrument bank will provide instruments to Arco's students, and offer donations of instruments to organisations and individuals in need.
We accept donations of all classical string instruments in any condition:
violin, viola, cello, double bass.
Spare parts such as chin rests, strings, shoulder rests, spike holders, cases.
Music books, related to string repertoire
Arco's Instrument Bank will be stored at
45 White Lion street
N1 9PW, London
5 minutes walk from Angel station
Launch on World Earth Day, 22 April 2023
Donations and pick-ups on appointment only