Sydney makes music from ocean plastic

An advertising agency has come up with an idea to give ocean plastic a second life while turning Sydney beach-clean ups into a party.

Could vinyl records be making a comeback? They could be in Sydney, thanks to an idea to make them out of plastic salvaged from the city’s beaches.

Sydney Water, the city’s water provider, and Republic of Everyone, and advertising agency that specialises in sustainability, have launched the “Beat the Bottle” campaign to raise awareness about plastic pollution.

The campaign centres on beach clean-ups held at two Sydney beaches. Volunteers will collect plastic debris from the beach, which will be cut up and deposited in vinyl pressing machines on site. 

During the clean-ups, DJs and junk drummers will play music for the volunteers, who will take home a freshly recycled vinyl record featuring an exclusive track composed from sounds of marine plastic called ‘Come Clean’ by local Sydney artists.

The vinyl pressing equipment was provided by Vert Design, a design studio which has also refurbished marine debris into men’s cuffs for a jewellery company.

Vinyl records made of compressed marine plastics promote Beat the Bottle’s theme of combining fun with sustainability. Image: Campaign Brief

The Beat the Bottle campaign is to be scaled across 15 beaches and waterways this summer, with some of the collected plastic recycled into a range of beach accessories.

Environmental grants from Sydney Water will support the campaign, and the vinyl may even reach commercial sale through partnerships with record companies; artists and bands are already seeking to print their records on them, according to Republic of Everyone partner Ben Peacock. One idea is to create limited edition runs on new albums, he said.

Peacock commented: “Sustainability needs to be fun. The more fun we make it, the more people will get involved and that’s what Beat the Bottle is all about.”

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