Acoustic and electric guitar manufacturer Taylor Guitars was recently recognized by the California Integrated Waste Management Board’s Waste Reduction Awards Program for its aggressive efforts in environmental stewardship.

Its achievements include recycling of: 35 tons of cardboard — 95 percent of the company’s total volume; more than 20,000 pounds of paper; and all oil and coolant products. Scrap wood and sawdust were converted into particleboard and mulch  — 100 percent reuse. Select pieces of scrap wood also were donated to a local woodworking association to be transformed into toys for orphans in Tijuana, Mexico.   

Taylor Guitars’ environmental commitment also has earned recognition from many other sources, including the Ecological Society of America. The company says it is constantly refining its practices, including within the finishing area, where it has significantly increased transfer efficiency while reducing VOCs.

Using an electrostatic spray system, a robotic arm holds the guitar as it passes through four coats of UV-curable spray.

“We did a test once to see how much material was actually going on the guitar and how much was going elsewhere, and what we discovered was startling. Prior to installing our electrostatic spray cell, 80 percent of our finish was ending up on the walls, on the floors and in filters designed to catch overspray. Only 20 percent actually made it onto the guitar,” says a company spokesman.

The spray involves 4 ounces of material per guitar body, 8 ounces less than when it was done by hand. The finish goes on at 4 to 12-1/2 mils thick, depending on the part and type of guitar.

Taylor Guitars also is committed to using wood that is responsibly harvested and has traveled with Greenpeace’s Music Wood Coalition as part of a wood certification initiative.

Based in El Cajon, CA, Taylor Guitars was founded in October 1974 by current CEO Kurt Litsug, President Bob Taylor and Steve Schwemmer, who sold his portion of the company to Litsug and Taylor. The company is renowned for its products, which are used by high profile artists, including: Aerosmith, Sammy Hagar, James Taylor and Garth Brooks.

An electrostatic spray system applies UV coatings to the guitars.

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