is Key

Our commitment goes beyond making records. We are continually looking for more sustainable practices in manufacture and share our knowledge with others in the industry.

A cherished album will be played again and again and still be usable long after many other plastic products have been discarded.

Historical Data

Emissions from downloads and streaming in 2016 were actually greater than emissions from all physical manufacture in 1977!

Plastic usage peaked around the year 2000 at the height of CD manufacture and has dropped ever since as physical manufacture declined. Yet online music consumption can also be energy intensive. Files need to be stored on servers that need to be maintained and the total greenhouse gases emissions have actually increased in the digital era, mainly due to streaming.

So what can you do if you love your music? Buy it! Ultimately whether it's an MP3, a FLAC or coloured vinyl; if you're going to play that tune again and again you're being kinder to the environment and supporting your favourite artists.

42,656,0007” Vinyl49,600
90,816,00012” Vinyl4,540,800
0Track Download63,000,000
0Album Download75,600,000

These figures are estimated total kg of greenhouse gas emissions across all major recording formats in the U.S.

Eco-mix Vinyl
Cardboard packaging
vegetable based inks
FSC certified paper
recycle more
waste less
strive to do better

Manufacturing is going to have an impact on the environment, but we are doing everything we can to keep this to a minimum.

Plastic and Recycling

Key Production manufactures vinyl and CDs predominantly via European manufacturing partners.

All EU manufacturing plants are subject to the 2007 REACH agreement, which means that the compounds used to manufacture must be free of harmful heavy metals and carcinogenic chemicals.


Vinyl records are made using a PVC compound. PVC remains by far the best material for faithful audio reproduction and is also one of the most commonly and easily recycled materials. Most of our suppliers now use circular systems to reuse waste materials on-site to create reground PVC. Waste PVC, along with finished records, can also be recycled for use other areas such as building and road construction.


CDs are made mainly from optical grade polycarbonate. For CD manufacture, there is far less plastic waste from the production process itself due to the way the discs are made. Damaged or faulty product can be recycled but the polycarbonate cannot be reused in production so is recycled at specialist facilities.


We believe vinyl and CDs should be cherished and if looked after well will last a lifetime. However, should you find that you have damaged items that you would like to recycle then that can be facilitated. Distributors will usually have a responsible recycling scheme of their own so if you work with one do check with them. Alternatively we can take records and CDs for recycling where we can guarantee that every element of a product is being recycled responsibly.

If you would like to utilise this service please send to:

Key Production Recycling c/o MCM Fulfilment, Stadium Business Centre, Unit 27, North End Road, Wembley, Middx, HA9 0AT.

Paper and Card

The use of vegetable based ink and FSC certified paper reduce the environmental impact of the printing processes involved in sleeve and CD-pack printing. We also monitor studies into the benefits of recycling versus the drawbacks of the processes required to produce high quality recycled papers and boards.

Sustainable FSC-certified paper and card stocks, low-carbon packaging options, the highest quality vegetable-based inks, premium water-based varnishes, and compliance with environmental industrial standards including ISO 14001 are the minimum we expect and accept from our suppliers.

Our suppliers are all; ISO 14001 (environmental management system), Sony certified green partners, FSC Certified, ISO50001 (certified energy management system) and ISO9001 (quality management) accredited.

Check out King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard's ‘Love Record Stores’special edition which used recycled board and plant based inks throughout.

Shrink Wrap

Standard shrink-wrap is called PE/PP film and is recyclable. We can offer alternatives such as a PVC outer sleeve as part of the product or a Belly- Band to authenticate that the product is new (although this option would not offer protection against damage).

All manufacturing plants we use are working with suppliers to produce fully biodegradable shrink-wrap.

When Key started in 1990, we rarely shrink-wrapped manufactured product, nowadays many distributors won’t accept stock without external protection to reduce damage in transit. People consider that removing shrink-wrap may result in more waste due to the greater return of damaged stock.


Intelligent forecasting and careful planning help minimise any unnecessary impact in the transport of goods, by ensuring vehicles are carrying optimum capacity. Key Production closely monitors and favours those plants sourcing energy efficient suppliers and innovative energy saving processes (such as closed-loop energy systems and heat exchanges), and we work to encourage these practices in other plants. Our requirements are for them to demonstrate ecological sustainability in their business practices, ensuring their environmental impact is mitigated.

All of our suppliers are continually updating processes to make their facilities better ecologically through initiatives such as re-using vinyl waste in vinyl production, recycling all card waste and using waste energy to heat offices.

As a group we carbon-balance all of our scope 1 & 2 greenhouse gas emissions across all of our offices, while also working to reduce our emissions.

We are pleased to say that we can now also offer carbon balancing to customers who would like to balance the manufacture of their product through Key Production. Our carbon balancing is provided through the Communitree project which is a highly respected reforestation project in Nicaragua. This project is verified under the global Plan Vivo Standard, the world's original community carbon standard and has been personally inspected by our CEO Karen Emanuel.

You've decided that you're going to make a record but the choices you make when it comes to manufacture and packaging can reduce the environmental impact of your release.

Carbon Balancing

Key Production chooses its suppliers not only on their ability to deliver the high quality we demand, but also on their ability to demonstrate ecological sustainability in their business practices, ensuring their environmental impact is mitigated.

All of our suppliers are continually updating processes to make their facilities better ecologically, re-using vinyl waste in vinyl production, recycling all card waste, using waste energy to heat offices.

We can also offer (and manage for you) Carbon Balancing of your manufacturing run. Our carbon balancing is managed through C Level with the CommuniTree project which is a highly respected reforestation project in Nicaragua.

C Level Carbon Balanced projects are all verified under the global Plan Vivo Standard, the world's original community carbon standard.

CommuniTree has continued to lead the way for smallholder reforestation becoming Plan Vivo's largest project, by generating over 1,000,000 carbon credits in 2022 (planting an estimated 6,311,480 trees on 4,739.28 hectares of land). Read the latest annual report to find out more about their latest achievements; hear from farmers and much more.

Latest CommuniTree annual report can be found here:

Run From The Jewels

We suggest continued avoidance of CD plastic cases in favour of card options. Well-designed card packaging can look terrific and is a much greener option.

CD products have been slowly but surely moving away from plastic packaging towards cardboard sleeves. All our suppliers can supply FSC certified paper and board, which means the paper and card is sourced from managed, sustainable forests.

Amaray has recently produced a CD box that can be made from post-consumer waste and is lighter than standard plastic boxes. It is currently being trialled so watch this space.

Finish and Materials

Consider avoiding certain special finishes on your card product. Extra processes like laminate finishes make waste left over from manufacture very difficult or impossible to recycle, as they turn a recyclable card into one with mixed materials – the enemy of all recycling plants.

For box sets consider a card fitment instead of foam. It’s recyclable and keeps all your items in place.

Shrink Wrap

Please check with your distributor or online retailer to check whether they definitely require shrink-wrap and consider alternatives such as a more durable PVC dust cover or paper belly band.


Transport of your finished stock is also a consideration. Intelligent forecasting and careful planning help Key minimise any unnecessary impact in the transport of goods by ensuring vehicles are carrying optimum capacity.

For example, if you have European stock being made in Europe, we can arrange direct delivery within Europe for you.

Please do ask us to advise you on how to better manage your deliveries. We are happy to help you to help the planet.

Reduced Impact Vinyl

Colour bio vinyl

We are delighted to now be able to offer bio-based PVC records. These compounds remove fossil fuels from the production of at least 30% of the record pressing material.

The acoustic and visual quality of these records is in line with traditional pressings and is available in a range of colours. As these records are still made of a PVC/PVA mix they are easily recycled just as conventional records are.

Ecomix Vinyl

Eco-mix colour vinyl records

Made using coloured offcuts from previous vinyl runs. The offcuts are reground, mixed together, and produce a run of random lucky-dip colour vinyl. This cuts down on waste and can also result in some impressive effects as every single record has its own individual blend of colours. This can be a great incentive for fans wishing to own something unique while at the same time helping reduce the product’s environmental impact. And it’s no more expensive than regular coloured vinyl!

Pressing plants can also offer the option to use re-ground black vinyl from the offcuts of black vinyl orders and then mixed with new virgin vinyl, to reduce waste.

Check out King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard's ‘Love Record Stores’ special edition which used Eco-Mix vinyl throughout.

Vinyl Weight

Standard weight black vinyl

Less is more! 140g vinyl beats 180g in terms of sustainability. 140g vinyl has a proportionally lower carbon footprint compared to 180g using 25% less material for manufacture and reducing the weight which reduces transport emissions.

An order of 1000 standard weight vinyl means using and shipping 40kg less plastic relative to heavyweight vinyl!

Injection Moulded Records

vinyl record grooves

We are now able to offer a different way of making records using injection moulding rather than the conventional viny pressing method. Rather than using PVC the records are moulded from PET which is a material that is widely recycled.

Records made in this way should have a lower carbon footprint, due to the relatively low energy required for manufacture and should be easier to recycle at the end of their life.

Available in black and ten other colours.

Lathe Cut Records

lacquer cutting lathe

Lathe cutting is a method of cutting individual records on demand. A different approach to making records which uses a similar tecnique to cutting a lacquer or the one-off acetate cutting machines from the fifties and sixties.

A UK based company is looking to offer records cut using machines based on this technology which is currently in development.

Evovinyl Compostable Bioplastic

Evolution bio [plastic

This is an innovation which is currently in the development stage. What is being worked on is a bioplastic that is industrially compostable.

We are working really closely with Evolution Music on this offering, with our CEO Karen sitting on their advisory board.