And while vinyl continues to resurge in popularity, increasingly record labels, distribution companies and pressing plants are looking at more sustainable options – for example, PVC vinyl can be recycled if it’s in decent condition and being processed in bulk (unfortunately, putting your unwanted 7”s in your green bin at home doesn’t help – seriously, think about gifting it to someone using vinyl to make decorations). Given the nickname “re-vinyl”, Biffy Clyro, The Cure and Depeche Mode are among the artists who’ve put out records on 100 per cent recycled PVC.
“‘Recycled’ vinyl is available quite commonly – it’s the offcuts from the process of making LPs,” explains Nigel Adams from independent label Full Time Hobby. “It isn’t massively more expensive and is cheaper than some of the colour variants – plus, you can get random colour-ways.”
Nigel also points to other areas in which production of vinyl can be more sustainable. “There’s no proof that heavier vinyl weight affects sound quality in any way, so just changing from 200/180gm to 140gm saves on emissions,” he recommends. “We can do without shrinkwrap, or go for a longer lasting bag so it’s not single use. Make sure the card in the LP sleeves is recycled, and the pressing plants are using non-toxic inks.
“Transportation is key, and the sooner that low or no emissions ways are mainstream for transporting the finished vinyl, the better,” he adds. “I’d also like to see more local pressing plants – there are very few in the UK and they are expensive and constantly booked up, so if there was more development in that area it would help. In the future you’d like to think technology would help a lot of industry operate in much more localised ways and possibly use materials closer to home."