Gotta Groove Records

Gotta Groove Records

Vinyl Pressing For A New Generation of Listeners & Artists – Generation Wax


Minimizing our environmental footprint is very important to us at GGR, as it should be to everyone. So, we take broad measures to run our operation as efficiently as possible, as well as to mitigate our footprint on the earth as much as possible. We strongly believe that if everyone – manufacturers, service sector businesses, and individuals alike – makes real efforts to minimize impact upon the environment, we can all have a collective positive effect on the world’s climate and living conditions, as well as upon our own personal lives.   We recognize that not every business is going to be zero-impact, or carbon negative (if that really is even possible).  Butit is the collective real actions –not just marketing statements– taken by businesses and individuals within their own controllable environments and lives that can mitigate waste and pollutants and have a true collective improvement for our earth.

Records, when taking the entire supply chain and consumer behavior with the end product into account, are some of the least environmentally detrimental consumer goods sold. This is in large part because, well, you can enjoy a well-manufactured record for generations if it is made well and properly cared for! Records are a consumer good that is not generally “disposable” — the majority of record buyers keep their records indefinitely, and those who do not typically will sell/donate them vs throwing them in the trash.  By focusing on making high quality records, we feel that we further ensure that our records are collected and owned for lifetimes.  An interesting article somewhat related to this subject was published in the Ecologist in 2018.

Also, the device required to play records — a turntable — is generally not thrown away. Most people who invest in a decent turntable will only buy one or two in an entire lifetime – and even when they replace or part ways with it, it is rarely thrown away, but instead typically sold to a new user. Contrast this to the devices required for digital entertainment formats such as audio and video streaming, download audio, video games – and how many mobile devices and/or computers a typical consumer goes through in a lifetime (and how few of these are re-purposed or recycled).

Manufacturing is an essential component to the success of our economy.  In any manufacturing operation, there is going to be some level of waste/scrap.  While we can only speak specifically with regard to our operation at GGR, we believe that the manufacture of records tends to be on the far lower end of potential pollutants than the vast majority of manufacturing operations.

Scrap Materials

Fortunately, the vast majority of the scrap and excess materials involved in making the records we ship (print / packaging / vinyl / metal parts / lacquers) are recycled or reused within our operation.  All paper scrap is recycled, and the lion’s share of scrapped records are recycled within our closed-loop system.  In fact, the vinyl that we do not recycle internally is recycled by a third party for other non-record related goods — Since 2023, Return Polymers has a regular pickup at our facility for any scrap we do not reuse in our records.   Finally, we are a lead-free pressing plant – we deliberately use vinyl formulations which do not have lead as an ingredient.

All scrap nickel (stampers / mothers / masters) is recycled. Used lacquers are reused within our pressing facility, to weight stacks of cooling records; and they also are ultilmately recycled.


The steam circulation system in our pressing plant is “closed circuit” – the steam and water are continually recycled through the loop system. Our pressing machines are modernized with controls to increase their efficiencies, and electric motors and pumps have been modernized and replaced.

Process printed record labels (B&W and CMYK) are printed on a solar-powered printing press.

Our no-flap 7″ and 12″ polybags are made from 100% recycled plastic (and also are 100% recyclable – though not via curbside recycling).

We use ExlfilmPlus GPS shrink film for shrinkwrapped jobs.

Random color (100% recycled) vinyl is offered for orders, as long as stock permits.

We worked closely with the Ohio EPA and the Columbus Division of Water during the planning and initial implementation phases of our plating facility, to make sure we set things up the right way.  Here are some specific ways our plating operation makes the smallest footprint on the environment as possible:

-Our plating dept’s electricity is generated through a Green-E Certified wind power plan

-Zero wastewater from our plating operation is put into the sewer – wastewater is evaporated

-Supply materials are sourced and used in manners to minimize waste. For example, the nitrile gloves we use within our plating facility are made from biodegradable nitrile; all plastic sleeves we use for stampers are made from 100% recycled (and recyclable) plastic; packing tape is industrially compostable; stamper jackets and packing cartons are reused continuously until they can no longer serve their purpose; empty bottles/boxes/containers are recycled.


We are always conducting R&D on new materials which could potentially replace vinyl as the main ingredient in records in the future.  The main requirement to GGR is that the material must sound the same or better as the Neotech vinyl we currently use; and it has to offer real net gain in sustainability — not just trading one issue for another.  To date, we have yet to procure or produce such a material.  At least as of today, pure vinyl just works for records, unless you are willing to make a sound quality concession, or trade one issue for another. That is not to say that there are no potential replacements for vinyl – and it certainly is an exciting time of development for potential new materials for records!

Records, being an old and established medium, have gone through extensive and exhaustive R&D efforts over the past many decades. This includes injection molding, which was used for some records in the 1960s and 1970s. Recently, PET, a material that has been around since the 1940s, has become a topic of discussion in the record industry as a potential replacement for vinyl. To date, the applications of this material have surrounded injection molding instead of compression molding for making records. We are interested and excited at the potential PET may have to offer. But, for our purposes it must look and sound the same or better as a vinyl record; and must offer real measureable environmental improvements vs traditional vinyl.

We are also optimistic about the prospect of substituting the extremely minimal amount of petroleum required to make record compound with some recycled material, such as used cooking oil. However, it is important that the sound quality is not compromised; and that it is not requiring more energy to procure the recycled material, make the new compound, and particularly to transport it to pressing plants for end use.

Within the GGR research labs, we are currently working with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on developing a non-vinyl material to make records.  The hope of this new material is that it can be used in a traditional compression-molding record press, vs requiring large new injection molding machines to be built.

We are also in the final stages of testing an additive for record compound that, when introduced to a highly microbial environment (aerobic and anaerobic) [such as a landfill], the rate of biodegredation of the vinyl is greatly enhanced (and, through our extensive testing to date, does not impact sound quality or record life longeavity at all – it may even improve the noise floor of some records).  However, we view this as a temporary bridge to minimizing plastic waste.  The main drawback of increased biodegradability of plastics is twofold — 1. when it does not make it to a landfill, it will still biodegrade in nature (which can cause risks to animals who may ingest the pieces of plastic that are naturally breaking apart); and 2. Biodegredation still causes methane, a harmful greenhouse gas.

Of course, it is unlikely that vinyl records and/or scrap from making vinyl records may wind up discarded outside of a landfill, when it is not being otherwise recycled.  Actually, we feel it is extremely unlikely that large quantities of modern vinyl records or record compound scrap may be winding up in landfills to begin with.  But, all that being said, we do not view the additive as a closed chapter on our quest for the ultimate sustainable material for records.

Being located in Ohio has great benefit when it does come to the waste that cannot be recycled, and which ultimately winds up in a landfill. The majority of active landfills in Ohio have landfill gas energy projects (LFG’s), where the methane that is produced from the breakdown of biodegradable materials is recaptured and turned into gas, which can then be resold to natural gas customers or used to produce electricity.

In our view, the real winner material for making records would be something that sounds great, has similar cost structure to PVC, has similar energy & transportation requirements to manufacture, works with compression molding, and is infinitely recyclable both within a pressing plant; but also industrially recyclable for other industries using less resources to recycle than PVC currently requires. If this material can be made using some base level ingredient that itself is recycled, all the better.

In conclusion:

At the end of the day, every item that humans produce and/or purchase will have an environmental impact of some sort. Vinyl records are not a single-use item – they are a product that can be enjoyed by generations if properly made, and properly cared for. We make strong efforts to produce our records responsibly; as well as make the best records possible so that they are enjoyed for as long as possible.

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