Sharp Corporation has developed a new technology to blend
plant-based plastic - with corn as the raw material - and
waste plastic recovered from recycled consumer electronics.
This technology 'compatibilises' the two non-homogenous
plastic materials, by causing micro-dispersion - or an increase
of compatibility - at the molecular level.
Plant-based plastic has had problems in terms of impact and
thermal resistance - which had been limiting the adoption
of the material in durable consumer goods, particularly electronic
products. In the new technology, Sharp has improved these
problems to a practical level. This allows the repeated re-use
of recycled polypropylene and polystyrene from discarded household
electrical appliances in new manufactured products, without
loss of physical properties such as material strength.
Sharp will be conducting tests to assess the product's commercial
potential - with the goal of using blended plastic in its
electrical products during the fiscal year 2006. When the
price of plant-based plastics is reduced to a level - on par
with general plastics - the company estimates that, by 2010,
the percentage of renewable resources (including plant-based
and waste plastic) used in all its products will increase
Using a mix of plant-based plastic and waste plastic in consumer
electronics can significantly reduce environmental impact,
compared with using plastics derived from petroleum-based
feedstock. Plant-based plastic, in particular, can reduce
the impact on the environment, given that incineration of
the materials does not cause atmospheric CO2
concentration to rise.