REI Community
Rope Redemption Program
Submitted By: C Miller on Jul 6, 2007

Add Comment
Sterling Rope would like to invite you to take part in our new Rope Redemption Initiative. Rather than having that rope sit in the back of the closet or worse, sit in a landfill. Return it to Sterling and we will recycle it for you! That's right, simply send us your old, used Dynamic Climbing ropes and we will send them off to get melted down and re-made into carpet fiber, telephones, coat hangers, even children's toys!

It's easy:
Step 1) Put your Rope in a box

Step 2) Put this address on the box

Sterling Rope Company, INC.
C/O Rope Redemption Program
26 Morin St.
Biddeford, ME 04005-4413

Step 3) Ship us the box anyway you want (USPS, UPS, FedEx, Carrier Pigeon, Transporter) whatever! U.S. Postal is real cheap!

Step 4) Sleep well at night knowing that you've thought outside of the box, kept more garbage out of the landfill and made some children very happy. Karma, ain't it grand!

If you have any questions, contact:

Comments on Rope Redemption Program Add Comment
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 18, 2007
By Kevin Sainio
From: Durango, CO
Jul 6, 2007
It's great to see the climbing industry (and the outdoor industry as a whole) taking a leading role in being environmentally conscious. I can't think of any other industry taking such large steps. Props to all the companies that are making an effort. I will be sending my retired ropes in ASAP.
By C Miller
Jul 6, 2007
Here's a little more information from Sterling Rope Co. about their program:

"This opportunity is available to anyone with a dynamic climbing rope they want to recycle. While this program is in the beginning stages we hope to figure out all the logistical hurdles and be able to offer it indefinitely. As you may or may not know, dynamic climbing ropes are made of Nylon (plastic). It is specifically called Nylon 6 and as with all plastics it is derived from petroleum. The Rope Redemption Initiative will collect all these used ropes and send them to a textile plant where they will be compiled with other Nylon 6 materials. This mass is chopped into tiny bits, cleaned, and melted down into small plastic pellets. These are then sold off to other manufactures who mold the pellets into various plastic items we use everyday (the majority of which go to a children's toy maker)."
By Mike Howard
Jul 6, 2007
Great news. My next rope was to be a Mammut but now it has to be a Sterling. Thank you.
By Matt Amory
From: Boulder CO
Jul 6, 2007
A friend of mine in Boulder also recycles rope. If you're looking for a more local solution, I can put you in touch with him...
By DaveB
Jul 8, 2007
While it is good that Sterling is being "environmentally conscious," it would be nice if they (and/or other rope companies) issued discount coupons, gift cards, or other incentives for each rope redeemed.
By C Miller
Jul 8, 2007
Sterling does say the program is in it's initial stages, so cut them some slack (pun intended), but that's a good idea DaveB - what if rope companies included a prepaid shipping label to return your old rope for recyling? Perhaps the cost could be figured into the price of each new rope?

Of course there's always rope rugs -
Rock Climbing Photo: Paradise Rock Gym's rope rug; made from their own ...
Paradise Rock Gym's rope rug; made from their own retired top-ropes.
By DaveB
Jul 8, 2007
Yes, I agree. It is only fair to give Sterling some "slack" (initially).

Good idea on the pre-paid shipping label...(the least they could do).

Hopefully, others here will contribute additional ideas. If Sterling falls short in implementing incentives, perhaps other companies will!
By Greg DeMatteo
From: W. Lebanon, NH
Jul 9, 2007
Are the ropes being recycled or reused?
By Adam Stackhouse
Jul 10, 2007
Greg, the ropes go through a thorough cleansing and sun-drying period, afterwards they are bleached and redyed to be sold as preowned ropes. I don't expect that the UAAAA fall ratings to hold up though. Search for yours at
By Charles Danforth
From: L'ville, CO
Jul 10, 2007
Kudos to Sterling for this program. I doubt climbing ropes take up a measurable fraction of landfill space, but it's still a good karma move on their part.

Are they taking other nylon products like webbing?
By Scott Rogers
From: Moab, UT
Jul 13, 2007
Maybe the Rope Redemption Program could try to clean up the mess on Little Bear Peak right now. I hear there are 4 ropes hanging from the rap station, all with considerable core shots from rockfall...
By Avery N
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 13, 2007
This is long-awaited, and awesome to see. Nice work Sterling!

ATS -- I'm sure they're totally usable overseas, still ;)
By C Miller
Jul 17, 2007
Update: Sterling said they're currently unable to recycle webbing, but can recycle old perlon. So, if you have any old perlon lying about from slinging old hexes, etc. you can ship those off to be recycled as well.
By Matt Amory
From: Boulder CO
Jul 23, 2007
Apparently this program is off to a great start. "Sterlingjim" posted on another site that "[He has] a couple thousand pounds of used rope".
By Josh Janes
General Admin
Jul 23, 2007

Millet (a major European manufacturer) has, for the last year, had a recycling program for their ropes. They offer you 0.35 Euros per meter of rope (and they can be turned in to local stores carrying their ropes!) towards the cost of a new rope. That's a $29 USD savings if you turn in your old 60m rope.

Maybe other US rope manufacturers could up the ante...
By T Brad
Aug 1, 2007
Does anyone know of any such program for static ropes?
By Jim Wacjsentjsz
Sep 4, 2007
why not pay for shipping?
By JB - John
Oct 18, 2007
Hello everyone on Mountain Project - My Name is John I'm the Sales Manager at Sterling and I�m one of the folks here that is working on the recycling program.

I was just reading through the thread and I wanted to address a few of the comments.
First Off I want you all to know that we do not recycle the rope here at the rope factory we work with a recycler that does the actual recycling.
We do not use the recycled material in our manufacturing process, we do not make yarn, and we buy yarn from specialty yarn suppliers that have exacting standards.
We do not make any money on this project in fact it costs us a bit of money but we feel it is well worth it.
A primary goal of this initiative is safety. A truly retired rope should never be used again for life safety applications. So we can help keep climbers safe by retiring old rope once and for all.

Since the initial launch of the program, which has exceeded my expectations, we have expanded it a bit. We can take back any Nylon rope Static or Dynamic from EVERY manufacturer. We can now also take back Nylon Slings. However, please do not send us any ropes or cords made of other fibers such as Polyester or Spectra etc. - The reason for this is, just like the recycling I hope you all do of plastic containers in your daily life the stuff needs to be segregated to allow for the most effective and efficient recycling. I�m sure you have noticed numbers embossed on the containers located inside the familiar triangular arrow-recycling Icon. This let�s the recyclers know how to process the stuff for the highest yield. Our partner who takes this stuff can only process the Nylon 6 and since we do not want to add more carbon foot print to this project we ask that you do not send in ropes that we can not have processed. If you are unsure about the content of your rope you can find out from the manufacturer. If it is a dynamic climbing rope it will be nylon.

Yes we are looking to find a western recycling facility to help us in this effort as well so that not all of the cords need to travel east.

Lot�s of people have asked us about discounts or gift cards or some other incentive to get people to send in their cords. Since we do not sell directly to climbers this was too tricky to navigate however several of our retail partners are taking on this challenge with us and from time to time select Authorized Sterling Rope Retail partners will be offering a Redemption Incentive program in addition to our ongoing efforts. I whish that we had unlimited resources to pay folks for their recycling effort either through a discount or shipping allowance, but we do not. Our goal was to provide a place for people to dispose of their ropes other then in the trash. While most people are psyched that we are doing at least this I have got to admit I was surprised to hear from a few folks that we �need� to do an incentive and I even have heard that �it is the least we can do.�

Please note that we will not offer the recycling program at every retailer again to minimize the carbon footprint of the program. Going forward Sterling Rope would like to make our rope recycling service available at ALL major climbing events and festivals! In an effort to minimize the amount of transportation that the retired ropes go through to get back to us we feel these events are the perfect place to consolidate ropes as the climbers will already be traveling to the venue, thus eliminating a "special" trip to a store just to recycle a cord. So, keep your eyes pealed at the next comp or festival and if you organize a comp get in touch with us about being part of it, we can help pay for shipping back from a comp!

Organized crag cleanups! Just like comps if a group of thoughtful engaged citizen climbers collect a bunch of retired ropes at an organized crag clean up send us a request to be part of that as well.

People ask what about rope rugs, dog leash, hammocks, swings and many other uses. Of course we encourage reusing rope on your own to make dog leashes, rugs and tie-downs however, please be sure a retired rope is never used as a life safety line. Also, know that countless MILES of rope is produced every year between ALL of the various brands so simply reusing the old rope is not enough to reduce it�s impact on our environment.

I�m not sure who first coined the now familiar phrase Reduce, Reuse, Recycle but I believe that a great deal of thought was put into the word order. We strive to be efficient in our manufacturing process, we encourage appropriate reuse and we offer a venue to recycle.

Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings about the program and thank you all for the input!

JB -

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · People · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About
Terms · Privacy © 2017 Adventure Projects, Inc.