SYOS

Reeds What's wrong with cardboard reed holders?

jmbrnrd

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Why, in this day and age of environmental crisis, do the major reed manufacturers (Vandoren & D'Addario) continue to add to the mountain of plastic waste by still producing an individual plastic reed holder, with every reed they sell.

Yes, they will tell you that it's recyclable plastic, but that just moves the problem further down the chain – eventually their plastic will end up in landfill, or polluting the waters, or back in our food chain.

Why? What's wrong with old fashioned biodegradable cardboard? Even if it meant that the odd reed got damaged as a result (which I never had a problem with back in the day) then I believe that would be a price worth paying to get rid of the plastic.

I know Gonzalez Reeds still use cardboard but are there any other manufacturers that don't use plastic holders?

Anyone else concerned by this?
 

jbtsax

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I think it is all about "packaging". I am old enough to remember when Rico reeds were sold in boxes of 25 and the reeds were placed in layers with a thick tissue like material separating the layers. I too am not fond of the individual plastic reed cases, but I do like the plastic Reed Guards that hold 2 or 4 reeds and keep the tips flat as they dry out.
 

altissimo

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the plastic may well be recyclable, but the UK doesn't have enough recycling capacity to deal with more than a fraction of our plastic waste, so it ends up in southeast asia -

we should petition the reed companies to use recycled card printed with eco friendly ink...
 
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jmbrnrd

jmbrnrd

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I agree. I already emailed D'Addario and got a quite feeble response from their customer relations. This really is an unnecessary uses of plastic imo and I really think that the woodwind community should come together and lobby the major reed companies.
 

Wade Cornell

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Totally agree. Possibly a different approach could help? If one was contacting them and saying that saxophone user sites (like this and SOTW) are discussing boycotts of reed manufactures who use plastic cases and naming names of those who do and don't, then they may see that it's in their interest to act before they loose customers to another brand.

Worth a try.
 

Colin the Bear

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The plastic reed holders seem to be made from biodegradable plastic. Invented here in the UK by Colloroll, who have gone bust by the way. Card board is trees isn't it? Save the trees. I like the plastic reed holders, especially the Rico ones.
 

Wade Cornell

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I strongly disagree with Colin's assessment about "saving the trees". Paper and cardboard are 99.999% manufactured from plantation trees. This is about growing something that is within the carbon cycle, i.e. carbon neutral. Unless you are sourcing carbon from another living organism you are digging or pumping up carbon from the earth as oil or coal tar which, as you say, then bio-degrades...which means gives up its carbon into the atmosphere. Granted it's not much carbon, but changes need to happen throughout our systems of sourcing and using materials. If you are using materials that are within the carbon cycle then there is no net change. We can continue to plant trees in plantations that supply paper products, building materials and fiber. It time to stop using unsustainable resources. Plantation trees save indigenous forests by eliminating the need to chop down those natural wonders of biodiversity.

For those who do not know my "day job" is Forestry Scientist. My work is in trying to reestablish forests on land that was once cleared of forests and is degrading. Utilizing plantation wood that is environmentally sourced (usually certified) is the BEST choice you can make.
 
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jmbrnrd

jmbrnrd

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Thanks for the clarification Wade. We all have a responsibility to make transformative changes in order to protect the future for our children & grandchildren and not to continue 'borrowing' their resources. Inevitably this means that we cannot just base our decisions on personal preferences, or short-term pleasures, we all have a moral duty to consider the consequences of our actions.

What do the big 2 reed manufactures say on their websites you ask?

Well, neither claim that their plastic reed holders are biodegradable – and I'm pretty sure that they would, if they were. I cannot find any section on the D'Addario website that addresses the environmental issues (if it exists then it buried deep). The only reference I could fine from D'Addario was this Facebook post from 2017 where they say:

Did you know that your D'Addario plastic reed holders are recyclable? Think about how many you use in a year, and how big of a global impact you could make by recycling them instead of throwing them away. "

Really D'Addario? Well think how much more of a global impact it would be if you didn't produce all the plastic in the first place.

Vandoren at least seem to be more upfront about the issues and do at least address the subject in their FAQ section, they say:

Vandoren Reeds protectors are made of recyclable polypropylene. We use a standard cellophane made of polypropylene. We keep an eye on the development of biodegradable cellophane and will change our cellophane as soon as we can use the recycling methods linked with it.

Not much better, but at least an acknowledgement of the subject.

Anyone know the numbers of their combined reed sales per year? Can anyone from Vandoren or D'Addario tell us how many plastic reed holders are produced every year? I'll bet it's mind boggling.
 

Wonko

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From reading that thread on SOTW, I get the impression that they don't deliver a very warm sound.
so maybe Marca is not for me?
 

Pete Thomas

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I agree totally that the holders reeds are sold in should be environmentally friendly. However I suspect that when sorted at the recycling plants the process is not as foolproof as we'd like to think (or that "they" would like us to think.)

In my area paper, cardboard, cans and plastic bottles all go in the same bin, how they sort that I have no idea, but if some of the process is manual, I would imagine the operatives can easily tell a plastic water bottle, but might look at a reed holder and just reject purely because they don't know what it iOS and its too small to bother looking for the recycle logo. Just speculating here of course.

In answer to the question, the plastic ones are actually superior in that they also often double as permanent reed holders - the firmness allows athem to hold the table of the reed nice and flat, cardboard ones don't.

But I never chuck them, I have a load of plastic ones that I re-use (in fact when I recently sold a load of unboxed Legeres I used part of my collection of plastic holders to ship them in.

Of course this re-begs the question of synthetic reeds also.
 

Wade Cornell

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I hate to disagree with Pete, and it may be that in urban UK you don't have the same situation or opportunities that we have. As already said plantation grown wood products are carbon neutral. Recycling materials that are made of limited/dwindling resources is OK/good only in that you have not made it waste and are (hopefully) causing less demand for that limited resource. There is however a BIG cost for recycling in terms of handling and energy to remake those products. In the case of wood,paper, etc. you can burn these (again if you are in an area that allows furnaces, fireplaces, etc.) which just puts back the CO2 that was temporarily removed in growing the tree...carbon neutral. What you GET is heat/energy instead of using up more energy that's required in all recycling.

A small point about a small product, yet we often forget that the act of recycling is also an environmentally costly measure. Kermit has a song about this.
 
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jmbrnrd

jmbrnrd

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In answer to the question, the plastic ones are actually superior in that they also often double as permanent reed holders - the firmness allows a them to hold the table of the reed nice and flat, cardboard ones don't.
I can see how a plastic holder will be better at keeping the reed flat, but surely it would be better to have a permanent and reusable reed case/holder to do that and just transfer from the a cardboard holder when in use?
But I never chuck them, I have a load of plastic ones that I re-use (in fact when I recently sold a load of unboxed Legeres I used part of my collection of plastic holders to ship them in.
Any short-term reuse is great of course, one day, further down the chain, they will still be discarded.
Of course this re-begs the question of synthetic reeds also.
Indeed it does!

This is not about what may be best for us as players, or what we like or don't like, it's about the environmental cost of our preferences and recognising that these things matter.

If anyone has not read the recently published BBC article covering the UN report on the current crisis, I urge you to read it.
 

Targa

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There is plenty of information about how destructive plantations are and the claims of 'sustainable', 'environmentally friendly', 'carbon neutral' smokescreens that the people who work in the industry make while destroying yet more of the old growth forests and the plant and animal life that depend on them to make their millions from the green deserts.
 

altissimo

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D'Addario do have a guitar string recycling program - Playback – D’Addario’s String Recycling Program but nothing for recycling plastic waste.
Having cellophone around a box of reeds or sealing them in individual plastic packets isn't at all necessary.
I had some reeds that came in a small metal tin... :confused2:

There have been biodegradable plant based plastic materials developed for disposable coffee cups and food packaging eg - World first bioplastic solution to growing coffee cup waste

I've been using Bari plastic reeds for a while and at least they last a long time - 2 1/2 years for the last one until the tip broke off on a particularly loud mulriphonic... hopefully I can reshape the tip and file it a bit to get it working again. But the damn things come in a little plastic box....
I think Forestone make some reeds with bamboo fibres,, but I assume that the resin or plastic they use to bind the fibres together is a product of the oil industry..

manufacturing (and recycling) requires the use of energy and how that energy is generated is a key question, but changes to renewable energy also mean more manufacturing and more mining of raw materials. Some of the materials used in making solar panels and batteries involve the use of minerals that come from parts of the world riddled with conflict and despotism, so the answers aren't easy.

Global warming and ecological catastrophe has been discussed since the 1970's and there was research on renewable energy back then, but we haven't come very far in 4 decades compared to the advances made in military technology, so a major change of priorities is necessary
 

hedgehog

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There was mention earlier of "boycott." That's probably the right concept but maybe a threatening word. I was thinking more of a note to my favorite reed manufacturer suggesting reeds in paper packaging are available and that I may change to them for just that reason. Also I'd state I'd pay a reasonable premium for packaging.. (This is not a perfect analogy but we buy organic produce, and have just paid more for it....but over time that price penalty for organic has decreased, due to scale economies.)

Biodegradable plastic is a real thing. A few years ago a friend showed up for a bike ride with biodegradable plastic water bottles. We had the same thought: I hope these things don't start breaking down while we ride! They didn't.
 
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