Polyvinyl Chloride sounds like a product from outer space. It’s one of those things that could tile a spacecraft in order to make it fly to the moon.
In fact, it’s nothing else than a form of plastic. German chemist Eugen Baumann first did that in 1872. However, it’s also a music business everyday product.
You might be wondering, what music product consists of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)? Well, its already in the name: Vinyl!
Why does that matter? Vinyl records have seen a huge resurgence as of late. From being nearly wiped off the market they are back in the product mix of many releases.
You are right. The much-loved music product is actually nothing more than a piece of plastic.
In reality, it took some experimenting before the newly found Polyvinyl Chloride plastic was ready to be fabricated in the masses we know of today. What is more, to make it workable, chemical additives need to be added into the mix.
The fossil fuel, crude oil, is extracted from limited sources in the ground, refined and processed into PVC granulate — the material that your standard vinyl is made from. The typical black colour of vinyl is derived from carbon black, a by-product from the burning of petroleum substances like tar.*source: DJ Mag
Vinyl Records Lingo for you to learn more words about vinyl!
You need chemicals to make the Polyvinyl Chloride plastic work in our everyday lives
If that doesn’t sound too environmentally friendly to you then you are right. Sadly, the production of PVC requires a lot of chemicals in the process. What is more, you need a lot of electricity to produce PVC.
Another point of concern for many people is the fact that so much of our used plastic ends up in the world’s oceans. Important to realise, PVC needs several hundred years to decompose fully.
That means that PVC pieces and particles can swim around the water for a very long time. Subsequently affecting marine wildlife and the whole ecosystem overall.
Can you recycle old Vinyl Records in order to be more eco friendly?
The smart music fan might ask, how can we recycle old vinyl records? Well, there are good news and not so good news.
On the one hand side, the not so good news is that for having a good audio quality, you can’t just use any old vinyl that was laying around in your garage.
Vinyl records are made from (PVC) pellets, which are melted and pressed into disc form. The material’s chemical and molecular attributes have a huge impact on the audible quality of music playback, and a disc made with low-grade or impure raw materials will sound terrible.*source: Novation Notes
On the other hand’s side however, there is good news, too! Vinyl pressing plants push for becoming more eco-friendly.
What they do brilliantly is that they use the scrap off from the vinyl pressing process in order to re-use them. That way, the audio quality stays up to anyone’s standard and the factory can hugely reduce the waste.
The PVC granulate is obtained by the shredding of edge trimmings and production returns and is free of paper residues and dirt.*source: Optimal Media
What is more, there are now even attempts to produce vinyl records completely out of plastic swimming in the oceans.
Vinyl Records aren’t the only plastic things causing a problem
In vinyl records defends, a lot of old vinyl are still around. No matter if you are a crate-digger regularly going to flea markets to get your desired collector’s pieces.
In addition, if you go to Discogs you’ll quickly find that most vinyl are second hand. Also, vinyl records aren’t single-use items.
If you take care of your vinyl records, you can listen to them for many many years. For so many vinyl enthusiasts, vinyl symbolize something special containing even an aura.
Of course, vinyl records are one factor in the usage of plastic. However, they are by far not the only one.
No matter if you look at automobiles, things of our daily living like clean film wrap or even our cellphones. So many things we use daily contain plastic.
If we really want to reduce our plastic and take care of the environment and wildlife on land and in the oceans, we need to be more aware of the products we use.
Certainly, making a point about vinyl records might help gain more awareness and making an example that even the hardest music fans can understand!