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Guitar Made of Ocean Plastic Strikes a Sustainable Chord

One of the more notable products made from ocean plastic is this guitar that sounds as good as it looks.

Rick Lingle

February 8, 2022

The Burls Art channel at YouTube fronts a man who specializes in making guitars from atypical or sustainable materials. One video shows him making a guitar from epoxy while another chronicles a hike into a forest where he built a guitar on site from a fallen tree.

In this recent 15-minute video he teamed up with 4ocean along the coast of south Florida to gather unnatural materials found in nature: ocean plastic.

The haul that included packaging such as metal cans, PET water bottles, and HDPE buckets — the latter of which he uses for the guitar body — is collected, weighed, sorted, and ground into small pieces.

In short, the process involves melting the plastic into a block that is cut to form the body followed by the other components. His full-disclosure video notes a fail while making the neck whereby embedded bottle caps weakened the part. He switched to using discarded straws he filled with epoxy. The result was a colorfully attractive neck/fretboard.  

On completion, the from-scratch (and plastic) hand-made guitar looks and sounds amazing. The demo recording of him playing the guitar near the end of the video had a dreamy quality that reminded me of a walk along the beach.

The project struck a major chord with an appreciative audience: in just a few short weeks the video had 800 comments including this sampling:

“Sustainable, made on a budget and has a beautiful tone: I loved it!” — Carol Mariana

“This is genuinely one of the prettiest guitars I've ever seen, if you ever do decide to sell your creations, I think a business making recycled ocean plastic guitars would be sick.” ­­— Nathan Stolte

Right on, man.

Some offered suggestions.

“Would've been cool to make the knobs bottle caps, too. Turned out great though, awesome idea.” —  Leif

“Following the recycling theme, it would be cool to see a guitar made from recycled/discarded vinyl records! Awesome work dude, this is one of the only channels I have notifications turned on for!!!” — Levi B

Yes, this is ingeniously awesome work, dude, rock on!

The only sour note is that the 4ocean salvage operation like many others of this type is highly sustainable: to date, the global organization is credited with removing 20 million pounds of trash from the ocean and there's a lot more available.

About the Author(s)

Rick Lingle

Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday

Rick Lingle is Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday. He’s been a packaging media journalist since 1985 specializing in food, beverage and plastic markets. He has a chemistry degree from Clarke College and has worked in food industry R&D for Standard Brands/Nabisco and the R.T. French Co. Reach him at [email protected] or 630-481-1426.

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