How bands can be more eco-friendly?

Written by Culture, Music

Recently Coldplay have announced they are giving up touring until they can make it ‘environmentally beneficial’, but do artists really have to make such radical decisions to become more eco-friendly?

With increasing awareness of climate emergency even the small actions, when taken up by many will add up to building a better future. Making your music more eco-friendly starts with the gear you choose, depends on how you utilize this equipment, and finally, shows in the way you distribute your recordings.

A good starting point is choosing gear made out of biodegradable and environmentally friendly materials. You can opt for wooden guitar picks and drumstick tips rather than plastic ones, or choose naturally finished instruments over those coated with multiple layers of toxic paint, which releases significant amount of pollution to the environment. Plastic drum shells can be easily replaced by wooden or metal ones. Even the tonewood your guitar is made of matters, as certain types of it are sourced from endangered species. For example rosewood, which comes from a threatened Dalbergia species group, and could be replaced by a more sustainable, government-approved source.

Instead of throwing away used up or damaged pieces of gear you could consider upcycling or repurposing them. As strings are rather difficult to recycle, it’s worth considering to repurpose them as for instance pieces of jewellery or home decorations. Similarly, cracked cymbals can be easily upcycled as lamps or lamp shades, while drum shells can make perfect plant pots or even a doghouse. Don’t be afraid to get crafty and look at other DIY projects for inspiration.

To make your guitar pedalboard more environmentally friendly consider swapping usual batteries for a power supplier. Toxic chemicals used to produce batteries often contribute to contamination of groundwater, while using less harmful AC adapters to power multiple pedals at once is equally effective.

CD packaging creates yet another source of plastic waste. Although going digital seems to strip down music from the romanticism of having the album’s physical copy, accessing it digitally reduces the carbon footprint by 40-80%. If you don’t want to resign from distributing physical copies, swapping a plastic CD case for a paper one also makes a difference.

Finally, why not consider writing a song with an environmentalist message? After all there’s nothing more punk nowadays than being eco-friendly, and maybe one day we’ll be able to say there’s nothing but flowers.

Last modified: 10th December 2019

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