I know quite a few people who collect vinyl records. Some, at least, consider themselves on the green end of the ecological spectrum, I am sure. I wonder if they’ll continue their hobby after reading this disturbing article about the manufacture of PVC and the pollution that production causes.
“The process of producing PVC compound is complicated. There are numerous phases, a campus of buildings, tall silos, deep vats, busy machines, as well as many workers in hardhats, hairnets and safety glasses.
“PVC contains carcinogenic chemicals, and the operation produces toxic wastewater that the [world’s primary PVC production] company has been known to pour into the Chao Phraya River according to Greenpeace, which says TPC has “a history of environmental abuses” going back to the early 1990s.”
As in Thailand, the US has a bad history of PVC production:
“In the 70s, the Keysor-Century Corporation, located north of Los Angeles, supplied about 20m kilos of PVC a year to the US record industry. That amounts to about one-third of the total annual amount used in the country at the time. Keysor-Century was an illegal polluter. The corporation had been under investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency since 1977. It was revisited by the EPA in the early 2000s, this time with the FBI, which resulted in a $4m fine and public apology for lying about exposing workers to toxic fumes, releasing toxic chemicals into the air and dumping toxic wastewater down the drain …
“During the US sales peaks of the LP, cassette and CD, the US recording industry was using almost 60m kilos of plastic a year. Using contemporary averages on greenhouse gas equivalent releases per pound of plastic production, as well as standard weight figures for each of the formats, that is equivalent to more than 140m kilos of greenhouse gas emissions each year, in the US alone. Music, like pretty much everything else, is caught up in petro-capitalism.”
So, environmentally speaking, streaming seems the better choice.
Just wondering: Record discs have been around a long time, so has there ever been an alternative material used for the discs that is more environmentally friendly? Hemp discs?
Good question. I remember in the 60s some music papers would occasionally issue what I think were paper (?) based singles that you could play a few times. Not great sound quality but good advertising.