The iPod is dead; long live vinyl | Plastics News

2022-05-13 22:14:19 By : Ms. Grace Ge

Twenty years ago it looked like MP3 players would be the final nail in the coffin when it came to vinyl records after years of falling sales compared to cassette tapes and CDs. After all, why would anyone buy massive LPs that needed to be carefully cared for when you could carry your entire music collection on one piece of plastic, metal and glass in your pocket?

But instead, Apple Inc. has declared it will no longer make the iPod music player at the same time that businesses are investing in new vinyl record production.

Apple announced May 10 that it would discontinue making the iPod Touch, the final iPod in its portfolio.

The original iPod came out in 2001. The first version cost $399 and was made with a polycarbonate/ABS blend and stamped stainless steel. It won a gold award from the Industrial Designers Society of America that first year.

The announcement of the iPod's end comes just a few weeks after four companies announced major expansions in production to keep up with consumers' and artists' demands for vinyl records. Memphis Record Pressing LLC recently launched a $30 million expansion in Tennessee that will allow it to turn out 125,000 records a day, Plastics News correspondent Jeannie Reall writes.

A new documentary, Vinyl Nation — currently available for rent for home streaming — tracks the enduring love for both records and the unexpected pleasures of finding the perfect album in a record store.

"[It's] the thrill of what might might be behind the door of that little shop," one person says in the documentary. "I've never been stunned to find an MP3."

Finding and removing plastics from waterways is hard enough. Microplastics bring far more challenges because the pieces are so small, they can't be collected easily.

If only there was a way to clean up microplastics the same way you'd wipe down your kitchen counters with a sponge.

It turns out that engineers from Northwestern University's Atomic and Nanoscale Characterization Experimental Center (NUANCE) near Chicago created a sponge that may seem like an ordinary household sponge — but it contains a nanocoating that allows it to collect microplastics.

Vinayak Dravid, founding director of NUANCE, told Chicago radio station WBEZ that the coating can be adapted to attract different pollutants. The sponge could also be used in a filter to collect synthetic fibers from washing machines, stopping the biggest source of microplastics.

Microplastics also are getting attention from a German professor who is swimming the length of the Danube River from Germany to the Black Sea.

Machinery maker Arburg is a key sponsor in "cleandanube," which will see "swimming professor" Andreas Fath of Furtwangen University, Germany, swimming through 10 countries along the length of the river to draw attention to microplastics and the need to reduce plastic pollution.

Arburg created a miniature injection molding press that will be used at stops along the swim to encourage visitors to think of plastics as a valuable resource, rather than something to be wasted.

Fath started his swim April 19 and reached Bratislava, Slovakia, on May 10. He expects to reach the Black Sea by June 17. The swim will cover 2,700 kilometers, or nearly 1,700 miles.

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