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Discussion Starter #1
I open a new reed per week, on average, because the old one has lost its edge in some aspect, typically less high response.

If I had no new reed, would I continue to play the old? YES. But I have the means to buy new reeds, so I do. Others might play them for much longer.

My old reeds are visibly perfect--no warpage, frayed tip, etc. The plastic sleeve is also in perfect condition, obviously.

So, my question: is there a place to send previously-played reeds where they may be used by those who have no access to new reeds?

With steel-stringed instruments, the strings may be sent to a distributor who places the slightly-tarnished or -dead strings with players who otherwise would have NO strings.

Reeds may be sanitized if not sterilized, if that is a concern.

I don't mean to be ignorant of nor feel entitled by my first-world privilege. The fact is that my used reeds are still in satisfactory condition to make sound, and if there is an alternative to land fill for them I would send them there.

I do not believe I am the first to consider this, so thank you for your thoughts.
 

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I don’t think that used reeds should be used for any purpose. You wouldn’t think of doing anything with your used tissues.
They are consumables have been infused with bodily fluids and are non polluting and sustainables (reed is a pest weed which needs controlling where isn’t not purposely growing).

Think of what kind of huge energy or carbon footprint you would create to ship these back to the makers.

The idea of sending used reeds (deemed not longer good to be used) to any “ poor” country is disrespectful of the dignity of the people there. If you want to do charity then do it the proper way.

If you want to do anything with it learn to clip reeds and re-se them yourself otherwise read (reed?) this

Hi stradivarius151,

My name is Jim Metz and I am the marketing manager for DANSR inc, the sole US importer of Vandoren products. My colleagues in France asked that I respond to your email.

We commend your desire to preserve the environment and minimize your carbon footprint. While there isn’t a conservation program for old reeds, we suggest that you add them to a compost pile. Just like grass clippings and tree/shrubbery trimmings, reeds are made of natural materials and will decompose naturally over time. If you add them to a compost heap (assuming you have one), they will decompose with the rest of the material in that help with no adverse affects on the environment.

As for the plastic reed protectors and reed cases, those can be recycled at any facility that recycles plastics. The reed protectors in particular are made of PP5, which many cities and towns now accept. For more information on your local recycling program, click here.

Thanks for writing Vandoren. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Sincerely,
Jim

Jim Metz
Marketing Manager
DANSR inc

This is the email he wrote me, except I changed my name to my username here and took out the link to my local recycling program.
 

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Sounds kind of like recycling used underwear. I agree with the above, if you want to help someone unfortunate it would be better to donate some money or buy a given amount of new reeds for donation.

I'm pretty sure the market is very limited for used reeds. I'd throw them out. As far as the plastic covers, I wish the manufacturers would go back to the paper sleeves Rico used when I was a kid. There's no need to use something that will last 100 years on a product that lasts weeks at best.
 

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many makers use paper like Gonzales, Medir and Marca (some Rigotti, Queen)
 

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many makers use paper like Gonzales, Medir and Marca (some Rigotti, Queen)
I've been using Vandoren with the cardboard box, plastic wrapper and plastic sleeve. Like plastic straws vs. paper straws, packaging them in plastic must be more cost effective.
 

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I think it is easier mechanized so larger companies tend to do this is large plants , typically smaller companies do this by hand (see the difference)



 

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Don't forget you are also wearing the facing of your mouthpiece into the reed when you play it. Short of completely resurfacing the back of the reed and removing a ton of material from an already worn out reed you'd be sending them something that is likely to not play very well on the mouthpiece they have.

And also it's gross.
 

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I typically split them lengthwise with a sharp knife to make spreaders of different widths for adhesives and lubricants. Or throw them away.

But definitely NFG for re-use by a different person. Heck, reeds of my own that have been sitting in the case for a couple years, I will typically soak for a while in hydrogen peroxide, just because I don't know what might have been growing on them in that time (I have a few horns that get played extremely infrequently).
 

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Discussion Starter #15
An observation on "gross." I store my current reed in 27% ethanol (original yellow-label Listerine), rinsing after each play, and it is difficult to culture any microorganism from one. Steam or ETO sterilization renders them sterile. Are you confident that reeds out of the pack are microorganism-free? Then please do not culture them to avoid an unpleasant surprise. But, no pathogens--just ones of the billions of wee bugs covering every surface of our lives. Me, I have no oral nor pulmonary pathology.
I have worked in parts of the world where IV bags are reused, cautery is with alcohol lamps, phlebotomy needles are resharpened, power is rare and the taps in a brand new hospital run dry due to tribal border disputes. Ideal? Of course not, but the greater good... Large charities love to donate, and health ministries receive, the latest expensive modern hi-tech equipment, and it lies in the corner gathering dust after the power supply fries with the first line spike.
Is music such a luxury that it should not be practiced save with brand new gear?
Yes, charitable donations are a fantastic endeavor. But as a new sax player, I am disgruntled by the waste stream I generate through routine play. I'll deal with it. Compost is not a bad idea, although a sack of mulch certainly less dear than a bag of reeds.
 

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Yes, the perception of dirty or "Gross" is individual and cultural.

I have no idea if there is any way to actually distribute used reeds but given the amount of chemicals at our daily disposal I would bet real money that they could be easily sanitized.

Cane is still basically wood. When cleaned and dried for a period of time bacteria and viral organisms die. There is a reason wood has been used for cutting boards since the beginning butchery. Even recent research states that unless you put plastic cutting boards in the dishwasher at a high heat wood is superior. The nature of wood makes it a challenging place for harmful bacteria. Also even the most challenging of germs do not live longer than a couple of weeks on a dry surface.

Yes, I know the idea is gross to many westerners but the reality is far different from the idea. If contamination was as powerful as the American ideology of "Clean"...we would all be dead. Parts of the world are becoming so antiseptic that doctors are telling parents to let their kids play in the dirt...have pets and not be cleaned with antiseptic soaps. In an artificial and antiseptic world our immune systems become easily compromised.
 

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the idea of being charitable with your discarded reeds is appalling, if these things are not good for you they are not good for anyone. One should never treat the poor in this way. Giving is giving good valuable stuff, not used rejects. Recycling is good, composting is perfect.
 

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Your point is well taken but if there is going to be money spent food and medicine come way before reeds...at least that is my thought. Also, it is better to treat the poor some way as opposed to pretending they are not there....which is the default settting on most individuals.

..but I get your point.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Sustainable... I have a Legere Signature in a strength that plays well for me. I believe with proper care it would last for months or longer--nylon is a fabulous material.

Selfishly, the tone is lacking a quality provided by cane. My teacher immediately comments, Oh, you are playing your synthetic.

So my aesthetics tempt me into hypocrisy. Maybe material science will continue to progress, our music will no longer require ongoing routine discards.
 
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