Yes, I agree, the old ways are the best. I contacted Vandoren and inquired about the plastic sleeve. Here was their reply.
My name is Sylvain Carton and I am the West Coast Artist Relations and Product Specialist for Vandoren in the US.
Thank you for your note and dedication to the environment. Vandoren is also committed to the global environment and we are always looking for new and better ways to reduce our footprint while maintaining the highest standards for our products. Our plastic reed protectors are made of 100% recyclable polypropylene (with the triangular symbol pp5). Depending upon the country/city, they can be recycled along with other plastics. There should be some options around you for recycling our reed protectors. I am guessing you already have this info, but for more information on your local recycling program, click here:
We are also musicians, we understand your concern and all of our research has been dedicated to finding processes that combine an efficiency for the musician, state-of-the art technology and environmental preoccupations. This is not an easy task but we are committed to it.
We export 95% of our reeds worldwide, and often the journey is long to the musician, in distance and time, and in very dry or very humid climates. Additionally we are not in control of where the reeds end up being stored or displayed (i.e., in a sunny shop window, under heating vents, in an air-conditioned room, etc…
on their way to musicians. For this reason it was necessary for us to find a way to send « Factory Fresh » reeds with a « Flow Pack » that protects reeds from a huge range of environmental conditions and with an individual reed protector that helps keep the reed table flat. Our packaging is currently designed to keep the reeds in a stable environment as they go from the factory to the musician, preventing warping, drying, cracking, etc… and allowing for greater consistency within a box, in effect creating less wasted reeds.
The "flow pack", released in 2005, is made of recyclable film (whose calorific value during incineration is important). The choice of our supplier was made according to the technical constraints related to the performance of the flow pack for the protection of the reed and also vis-à-vis an ecological approach (company certified ISO14001 which concerns the environmental management).
Our cellophane for reeds boxes is a very common type based on polypropylene.
Additionally, we are continuing our research into biodegradable and compostable films. The fineness of the films we use has the advantage of limiting the volume of waste in comparison with other packaging solutions such as waterproof box or hygrometry maintenance methods.
Concerning cardboard boxes and cases as well as all of our prints, we decided to entrust their realization to companies strongly committed to the path of ecology.
Regarding the manufacturing of our reeds:
The reed used as material for making reeds is a 100% natural plant. It should be emphasized that the shiny part of the reed is not varnish but the natural bark of the reed. Reed cane waste resulting from the manufacture of reeds is fully reused either as powder and compost in our plantations or to feed the boiler that heats our plant. This recent, high-efficiency facility releases only water vapor and CO2 into the atmosphere. It is important to underline that Co2 being of plant origin, and not fossil, its dissemination in the atmosphere does not contribute to the increase of the greenhouse gas emission. The quantity released during combustion is in fact globally offset by the amount of atmospheric Co2 absorbed by the plant during its two years of growth. We do not use any chemicals at any stage of the reed manufacturing process.
I am hoping this helps you understand our concerns and our processes. Please feel free to email me directly with any other questions and thank you for writing Vandoren.
Vandoren Artist Relations and Product Specialist
/ LA Studio / NYC Studio / Chicago Studio