Sustainability in the music products industry

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The MIA is part of an International Coalition of Music Industry Trade Bodies, which meets every year at The NAMM Show in California. At our meeting in January, we discussed the challenges that the industry can work on together in the new decade.

One of the themes that the coalition will collaborate internationally on is sustainability in our industry. We will be collating and sharing inspiring initiatives from the UK and beyond that are great examples of responsible manufacture and protecting the environment.

Business sustainability is more important than ever. Not just because of the obvious importance of conserving the planet, but also because of the increasing expectations of corporate responsibility. The consumer decision-making process is changing. The people purchasing your products will consider the environmental impact that they will have by investing in your brand over another.

So, here is our first case study in a regular series which will highlight and celebrate companies who are leading the way in sustainable initiatives.

Today, we look at MIA Member Warwick Music Group, their pInstrument range, and the steps they are taking to reduce their impact on the environment…

pInstruments: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

As a company we are conscious about how we operate in everything we do.

We are serious about making music accessible and fun, and consider the impact of everything we do. We also unusually make our instruments out of plastic, which our customers often ask about, so thought we would share how we look at reducing our impact on the environment.

Reduce

Every instrument in the pInstrument family is made using ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) plastic. The resources used in the production of plastic instruments are much less than that of traditional brass equivalents which are mainly manufactured from yellow brass.

Copper and Zinc (that make up yellow brass) are finite resources, with both extraction and recycling resulting in significant carbon emissions, exceeding those associated with the production of ABS.

What this means is that every time we make an instrument out of plastic rather than brass, we reduce the amount of carbon used (the universal unit of measurement to indicate the global warming potential of greenhouse gases). In fact, recently we commissioned some research which found that compared with brass instruments the 500,000 instruments we have manufactured since 2010 have saved 2,833247 kg’s of CO2, reducing the impact we make on our environment.

Reuse

During the manufacturing process instrument parts are made by injection moulding – every time we change the colour of the plastic, we have to ‘shoot’ a number of parts that are not used (imagine pushing different colours of plasticine through a spaghetti maker – you’re going to get some funny mixtures until the next colour comes through!). The great thing about ABS plastic is that those bits that we don’t use are simply melted down and re-used; minimal waste!

The plastic our instruments are made from makes them very strong and robust (one of the reasons we chose it is for impact resistance and toughness) so they are pretty indestructible! If there is an individual part of an instrument that is broken we can provide many replacement parts – just contact our wonderful customer service team who will be happy to help.

Our instruments last for years (the first ever pBones sold are still going strong) so if you do have one that you are no longer using we would recommend reusing it by passing it on to a friend or family member, why not encourage someone else to experience the joy of music! (you can read our blog about Gavin who bought one of the first pBones he has now lent his to a friend).

Recycle

Like us, our customers are conscientious, so want to know how to recycle pInstruments if they want to.

ABS plastic is recyclable, under recycling group 7 – ‘other’. This recycling group is not specific to one type of plastic, but contains various types. This mixture means that they should not be put in household recycling bins collected by the council, as they will end up in either energy recovery facilities (incinerators) or in landfill, however, ABS can be recycled by specialists, and at certain central locations – contact your local recycling centre for advice.

As a business we are investigating the best recycling options for our instruments, and will keep you updated on this as well as the other steps we are taking on our sustainability journey.

blog.pbone.co.uk/reduce-reuse-recycle-pinstrument-advice

Check out Warwick Music Group’s #seriousaboutmakingmusicfun blog series here – blog.pbone.co.uk/five-ways-warwick-music-group-are-serious-about-making-music-fun