October 19, 2023

2 Min Read
vinyl record pressing process
Image courtesy of Alamy/Alastair Philip Wiper-VIEW

SK chemicals (CEO Ahn Jae-hyun) announced on the 19th that it co-developed the "EcoRecord" LP made from 100% recycled materials with global record producer Sonopress.

Sonopress is a subsidiary of Germany's largest media group, Bertelsmann, specializing in the production of CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays. It owns production plants worldwide.

The EcoRecord LP was developed through close collaboration between the two companies. They replaced the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) used in traditional record production with circular recycled PET (CR PET), and reduced energy consumption by about 85% through innovative processes that don't use natural gas or steam during record production. Through this, it is anticipated that greenhouse gas emissions during the record production process will be reduced, which is expected to attract a great deal of attention from the global music industry.

Circular recycling is an exclusive chemical recycling technology of SK chemicals that breaks down discarded plastics through chemical reactions into raw material units and then uses these raw materials to produce recycled plastics. Compared to traditional recycling methods, which simply clean and reuse waste plastics or cut them into flakes and recycle them, this method ensures that the quality and safety of the plastic remain high even after recycling countless numbers of times.

To develop the EcoRecord, Sonopress researched materials and production methods that could replace PVC for the last two years. The new EcoRecord is produced in an injection molding machine that exerts a pressure of up to 300 tons, and Sonopress plans to set up a production line for the EcoRecord.

SK chemicals is also considering signing a business agreement with local distributors and Sonopress to ensure a stable supply of circular recycled materials. 

According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the market size of traditional records like CDs and long-playing (LP) records in 2022 is $4.6 billion, accounting for 17.5% of the total market, including streaming. While sales of CDs are declining, LP record sales have increased by 17.1%, showing consistent growth.

Sven Deutschmann, the CEO of Sonopress, stated, "With the collaboration with SK chemicals, we were able to decide on developing 12-inch LP records and investing in the production line," adding, "We plan to expand in accordance with the global music market demand." 

Kim Eung-soo, head of the Green Materials Business Division at SK chemicals, said, "Through the acquisition of the Shuye plant, we have secured a stable supply chain for 50,000 tons of circular recycled PET," adding, "Based on this, SK chemicals plans to expand the range of recyclable products into various industrial materials."

Meanwhile, SK chemicals signed an agreement last September with the waste recycling company "Shanghai Yuekun" (brand name "Lovere") to secure a stable source of waste plastic for future stable production and supply of circular recycled materials, anticipating an early market entry for recycled materials.

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