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2024/6/21

COLDPLAY TURNS RIVER PLASTIC INTO MUSIC

THE OCEAN CLEANUP and COLDPLAY Collaborate on “Moon Music”, an LP made from 70% river plastic intercepted from the Rio Las Vacas, Guatemala

“A unique mission requires unique partnerships – and Coldplay were keen to find new ways to use the plastic we have intercepted. Once the band contacted Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, to ask about turning our plastic into an LP, we got to work.” -- The Ocean Cleanup Team

The Ocean Cleanup Team provided answers to WATERTODAY’ s questions

By Suzanne Forcese

WT: What is the Ocean Cleanup mission?

OC Team: At The Ocean Cleanup, our mission is to rid the oceans of plastic.  To achieve this, we employ a dual strategy of cleaning up legacy pollution in the oceans, while also intercepting plastic in the world’s most polluting rivers to stop the inflow of trash to the seas.

But the work does not end there. What can we do with the millions of kilograms of plastic we are catching? How do we ensure this garbage never again returns to the marine environment?

 

To solve this problem, we look for partners who can give our plastic a new life – and now with Coldplay, alongside crucial recycling, processing, and manufacturing partners Compuestos y Derivados S.A., Morssinkhof and Sonopress, we have found a new and innovative solution: turning our intercepted plastic into useful material, and then turning that material into music.

 

Coldplay has been supporting the Ocean Cleanup since 2021.  The Notebook Edition of Moon Music is the first time we have used our plastic to create a new product alongside our partners – but this is only the start.  We are working hard with Coldplay and all our partners to find new ways to give our catch a new life and make sure the plastic we remove never returns to the ocean.

 

WT: How is plastic garbage turned into music?

OC Team: Turning plastic garbage into a functioning and high-quality record is not a straightforward process. First, you cannot use just any plastic trash. Records must be made specifically from PET.

This meant we could not use the ocean plastic we extract from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (which is mostly HDPE, LDPE and PP).

We had to look at our network of river Interceptors to find the right stuff.  But that is not all. To ensure the required sound quality for Coldplay’s music, the plastic must be as clean and free of imperfections as possible. 

There was only one Interceptor which could provide the required large quantity of sufficient quality PET – Interceptor 006 in Guatemala, which has been preventing tsunamis of trash flooding into the Caribbean Sea since deployment in summer 2023.

WT: What was the process following the collection of plastic?

OC Team: Once the plastic was intercepted in the Rio Las Vacas, our partner Biosfera GT set up a separate sorting process to set aside the best-quality PET.  This was then passed to Compuestos y Derivados for processing into flakes – the start of the process of converting this plastic from waste into valuable and usable material.

The plastic flakes were then shipped to the Netherlands, where Morssinkhof continued processing the material to create granulate – the key ingredient for an LP. 

Once processed, the material was passed to manufacturer Sonopress to put the pieces together and make the record.

WT: How much of the river plastic contributes to the LP?

OC Team: A quality-sounding LP cannot be created using only our river plastic.  It must be blended with other recycled plastic to deliver the high standards we seek to ensure our plastic never returns to the marine environment.

The toughest challenge was finding the right blend between our river plastic and the smaller proportion of other recycled plastic.  The key question was: what is the maximum percentage of river plastic we can use in the LP while still ensuring perfect sound quality?

After lengthy periods of testing and collaboration, our partners identified the sweet spot: each limited-edition LP will consist of 70% PET river plastic, all removed from the Rio Las Vacas and passed through a traceable and sustainable supply chain.  The smaller proportion of the plastic in these LPs is recycled waste plastic PET bottles from other sources.

When we were able to play our newly-produced ‘blank’ LP (before any music has been cut) and hear perfect silence – we knew we had found the right blend, and that our material was ready to bring Coldplay’s new album to life.

WT: When will the album be released?

OC Team: In October 2024.

WT: What is next for The Ocean Cleanup?

OC Team: We have shown we can remove massive quantities of plastic, but completing our mission requires more.

Innovative and progressive partners of all kinds – such as Coldplay—are essential to our mission.  We have now caught millions of kilograms of plastic, and we require supportive partners who can make use of the unique qualities of our material and work with us to find innovative solutions to plastic pollution.

 

Related Article:
THE OCEAN CLEANUP: 464,920 KG OF TRASH REMOVED FROM AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS SO FAR

 









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