Apr 23, 2021

At Diggers Factory, we like to think that, for some, vinyl records are one of the ways to fill the void left by the period we’ve been living in. However, the boom in record production and consumption in the USA and in Europe has also had an impact on the earth.
That’s why the vinyl industry is now turning towards the production of sustainable records. Let’s go back in time to understand this change.

Old was better

Before 1950, vinyl records were made of shellac, which is a natural resin exuded by the female stink bug : Kerria Lacca. As this substance was not from fossil fuels, records produced at the time had a lower carbon footprint than today’s. Contemporary vinyl records are mostly made of plastic derived from oil such as PVC. Indeed, this material makes our black records more durable. We still need to take care of them, though.
On the average, a modern record contains 135 g of PVC, which amounts to a carbon footprint of 0,5 kg of CO2 (on the basis of 3,4 kg of CO2 for 1 kg of PVC).

What about the CD ?

During the 80s, records were replaced by CDs. They are mainly made of polycarbonate and aluminium. While this new format has a lower carbon footprint compared to the records, its blend of materials is very difficult to break down, making it hard and expensive to recycle.

Does streaming resolve the problem ?

With the introduction of dematerialised music, the environmental cost of making and spreading it has not decreased. Storage, data processing and transmission infrastructure may have higher greenhouse gas emissions than petrochemical plastic used to produce their physical counterparts.

How can we do better ?

Produce the most environmentally friendly record possible, yes we can.

By releasing higher quality records made of calcium-zinc vinyl granules, a clean and recyclable material.
By using eco-friendly products for the cover and the packaging : paper and cardboard can be printed with an environmentally friendly and vegan ink, along with covers and labels from FSC certified and high-quality materials.
By working with carbon neutral hauliers so that (the process of) shipping records respects the environment with sustainable packages which offer the best protection.

At Diggers, we are by no means perfect on the issue. But we encourage our artists as much as possible to use our Ecological Vinyl Pressing service to make the most environmentally friendly records possible while keeping the sound quality. We have chosen factories and logistics coordinators who include this ecological approach for the sake of the earth and our record lovers.