Biodegradable vinyl breaks down in sea, cleaning up music industry

For the first time ever, a record has been pressed that will break down naturally in any environment thanks to a revolutionary new type of bioplastic.
closeup photography of vinyl record in vinyl player

The PHA family of materials are made from bacterial building blocks, with microbes engineered to form a plastic replica. The finished product is fully biodegradable – even deep in the ocean – and does not sacrifice on the sound quality vinyl customers continue to buy physical music for. 

On 11th April, the first EP to utilise this technology will go on sale, ‘Plastic Free Party’, featuring a track by DJ, producer, and highly visible environmental activist, BLOND:ISH, whose ABRACADABRA label is carrying the release. Developed as part of her Bye Bye Plastics campaign to remove single use plastics from the music industry, vinyl R&D experts at Evolution Music, and DeepGrooves – the planet’s greenest pressing plant – led on research. 

According to research published by The Conversation in 2019, the average individual vinyl record as a carbon footprint over 12 times that of a CD. Each pressing will produce around 2.2kg of greenhouse gas emissions, which also makes it 40 times more damaging to the environment than one hour of streaming service use, based on CO2 output alone.

However, it’s worth noting that any emissions savings identified from streaming are called into question when we take into account the how many more hours of streaming plays are happening in the world compared with sales of a vinyl record, and hidden energy usage within our digital infrastructure at the consumer’s end. 

This year’s UN Champions of Earth awards season has begun. For 2023, the focus for all categories is plastic pollution. Find out more about this here.



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