All About Music Reuse
Most people think of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” model when it comes to waste that we view as trash, like plastic bottles, food waste, or broken items. However, this mantra can be applied to EVERYTHING- including music! The music industry is a huge part of the economy and popular culture. Here is a guide to how you can be more environmentally conscious when it comes to music!
First – reduce. This means thinking about how you BUY your music and not buying physical music in the first place, if you can avoid it. This is incredibly easy with the advent of digital music! Instead of collecting crates and crates of vinyl albums or CDs and needing specialized players, simply download the music you want and play it through your smartphone. This results in a much lower environmental footprint.
o A 2010 study (by Christopher Weber, Jonathan Koomey and H. Scott Matthews in Journal of industrial Ecology) showed that downloading an album digitally and playing the files without burning them to a CD at home reduces energy use and greenhouse gas pollution by 80% over buying the music on a CD by e-commerce or retail at a store. (That drops to about 40% savings if you burn a CD at home and put it in a jewel case).
o Using the digital files with no CD reduces all the impact of manufacturing music CDs & packaging and eliminates the problem of how to get rid of it when you’re done with it. Hit delete and voila! No garbage for recycling, burning, or ending up in a landfill. In addition, it reduces environmental impact overall, as the product does not have to be shipped from the manufacturer, to the retailer and to your home.
Second – reuse.
o If you really love to hold your music in your hands, the best options are to burn your own CDs at home from purchased files (see above) and to buy your music second-hand. (This goes for instruments and turntables too). Used record stores have always been around, and environmentally, reuse is the way to go. The Current helps by promoting the state’s great second-hand music opportunities – both on Record Store day and all year long.
o ReUSE Minnesota (www.reusemnorg) is a non-profit that facilitates reuse of just about everything. Their website is a directory that connects Minnesotans to second-hand and reuse businesses in the state. We just launched in October of 2016 and are still building the directory. If Current listeners send us their favorite second-hand music stores, we’ll get them listed! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the website, www.reusemn.org/contact-us/
o Instruments can be easily bought and sold second hand – through Craigslist, Music Go Round, or other vendors. In fact, most instrument/guitar shops these days buy/sell used instruments as well as selling new. Guitars, because of the valuable hardwoods they use, are great things to buy secondhand.
o Have a CD or record player that needs a fix? Try a local Fixit Clinic in Hennepin,Dakota, Anoka or Ramsey County. Free, community-based workshops where you bring your broken stuff, and handy volunteers help you fix it up on the spot. I took my broken AIWA cassette player and learned it just needed a set of $14 belts – which I ordered and was then able to install myself. My Commitments soundtrack tape is back in action!
o If you have music you want to get rid of – don’t trash it – donate, sell, or swap it! Again, www.reusemn.org has places listed that will buy or accept your used music for donation. Take your stuff to a local second-hand music place like Down in the Valley or a Greener Read dropbox, or donate it to Arc Value Village or Salvation Army. You might also use an online option like www.Decluttr.com or www.SecondSpin.com.
o Think you can’t sell your old cassettes? Think again. Like vinyl and tunics over leggings, cassettes are making a comeback in some markets.
Finally, we get to recycling. Hopefully you’ve gotten the message that this is the last thing you should do with your music.
o Hennepin County HHW drop-off facilities accept these media from households (not businesses): DVDs, CDs, pen drives, diskettes, thumb drives, flash drives, media storage cards, Blu-ray discs, and video game cartridges. Jewel cases accepted only if holding DVDs or CDs. (metro counties have reciprocity, so anyone in the metro can bring items to Hennepin, list each county that offers reciprocity).
o And for a fee – you can get a collection box to ship a variety of “techno-trash” for recycling – but they don’t take vinyl records: https://www.greendisk.com/gdsite/accept.aspx GreenDisk reuses or recycles 99% of what they get.
Trash. Last, and definitely least, is throwing music in the trash. Cassettes, tapes, and records are allowed in the trash and can be thrown away, but we hope you wouldn’t think of doing this.
For more on this subject, check out http://www.growlermag.com/tunes-trade-offs-minimizing-ecological-footprint/