News today that British speaker manufacturer PMC has invested in a company aiming to revolutionise the production of vinyl LPs. Evolution Music, founded by Marc Carey, had developed an alternative to PVC records that is significantly better for the environment. PVC itself is environmentally stable once manufactured but producing it is environmentally damaging, as is disposing of it at end of life. By using Evovinyl rather than the normal raw ingredients everything becomes much more sustainable.

evovinyl

Mark Carey (left) and Pete Thomas (right)

Pete Thomas, PMC’s founder, is a committed environmentalist and became interested in the Evovinyl project when introduced to Evolution Music’s Mark Carey. With global production capacity currently at 180 million LPs a year that’s a potential 30,000 tonnes of PVC being used. Replacing that with Evovinyl would make a significant difference. There are also manufacturing benefits as less heat is needed during production, meaning it’s a win / win for both consumers and industry.

Fine but what does it sound like you ask? Same as traditional LPs is the short answer. Pete Thomas says that LPs made from Evovinyl are sonically identical to those made from PVC, a finding reiterated by all those who’ve listened to it. And trials with several pressing plants have proved the manufacturing process is viable.

The next stage is to move to manufacturing with scale, something Evolution Music is confident about. Hence PMC investing in the company to help it over the next milestone.

Overall it looks like a very interesting and credible initiative. For more information have a look at the video below, visit the Evolution Music website and/or read the full press release below. Hifi Starters for one is convinced – hats off to Pete and the team for supporting the initiative.

PRESS RELEASE: PMC invests in Evovinyl™ to help bring a sustainable future to the production of vinyl records

 PMC has invested in Evolution Music Ltd., the UK based company spearheading the development of Evovinyl, a plant-based alternative to the environmentally damaging PVC that is currently used to press vinyl records. The investment will assist in the quest to move the music industry toward a more sustainable future.

 Peter Thomas, PMC’s founder and chairman, and keen environmentalist, was introduced to Marc Carey, CEO of Evolution Music, by a mutual friend and record producer, Bill Gautier (Paul McCartney, The Cure, Fleet Foxes). “I met with Bill and Marc at Evolution Music’s office where we talked about our shared passions for music, vinyl and the environment. Our conversation made me realise that while we are making products to replay music, and we love the sound and experience of vinyl, the creation of millions of records each year is very bad for the environment. Marc’s quest is a worthy one, of which I was keen to be a part.”

 Global production of records accounts for around 30,000 tonnes of PVC per year (source – Disc International), and while that is a small percentage of the 40m tonnes of PVC produced each year, every sector has to do its bit to help reduce the damaging effects of this plastic.

 PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, to give it its full name, has been described as the ‘most environmentally damaging plastic’ (source – Greenpeace), due to its production, use and disposal, all of which result in the release of toxic chlorine-based chemicals which build up in the water, air and food chain.

 “Our main driver is a genuine concern for the environment. It is not greenwashing, but a real desire to try and do something to remove PVC from our industry,” says Peter. “We’re also going to be looking at this technology to see if we can use it to replace the plastic parts in PMC loudspeakers.

“Everyone in the hi-fi industry should get behind this project. It’s not about PMC or me, but something much, much bigger than that. I have heard the latest test pressings and am able to confirm that they sound every bit as good as traditional records. Getting us on board, and hopefully bringing other members of the industry with us on this journey, will bring audiophile acclaim to the new product.”

 The new material that has been developed is manufactured from sugar cane. It is a compostable product with no environmental impact upon disposal and has a sustainable ethos throughout the production process.

 Marc Carey explains, “We needed this project to be as sustainable as possible, from production to disposal, and so the life cycle analysis is very important to us. Evolution will be working with an expert team as part of our R&D to complete a full LCA, to ensure that the people who grow the cane are working in a good environment and not using toxic fertilisers. This is not the case with some other so-called environmental alternatives to PVC.”

 “It also potentially enables the record presses to run at a lower temperature than is required for PVC. Testing to date has shown a 30% energy saving if a plant switches entirely to this product. And it takes 50% less time to press a record, so big energy savings are possible.”

 After five years’ R&D the Evovinyl product is finally ready for entry into the market place. The sound quality has been assessed by industry professionals such as Rob Cass, in-house producer at Abbey Road Studios, who was speechless when he learnt that it was made entirely from plants; and Peter Thomas, who confirms that its performance is indistinguishable from traditional vinyl. Like existing vinyl, it can be pressed in any colour in addition to black, and an added advantage of this new material, for audio use, is that it naturally dissipates static, preventing the attraction of dust.

 Peter Thomas sums up his feelings, “So with the product finalised and the major record labels keen to get involved, with one that has pledged to move all production over to the new material; and a number of established artists, including a multi-Grammy winning artist who has expressed interest in their next album being pressed using Evovinyl, we are in a good position to make a positive change to the audio and music industries’ impact on the environment.”