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[greenyes] Sharp uses Plant-based and recycled plastics

4. Sharp Develops New Technology to Blend Plant-Based Plastic with Waste

DATE 2005

SOURCE Sharp Corporation [website]

ABSTRACT Sharp Corporation has developed a new technology to blend
plant-based plastic that uses corn as the raw material, and waste plastic
recovered from scrapped consumer electronics.  Using a mix of plant-based
plastic and waste plastic blended by means of this technology in consumer
electronics can significantly reduce environmental impact compared to using
common plastics derived from petroleum-based feedstocks. In the future,
Sharp will be conducting tests to assess commercial potential, with the goal
of using blended plastic in Sharp products within fiscal 2006. In the
future, when the price of plant-based plastics is reduced to a level on a
par with general plastics, it is estimated that the percentage of renewable
resources (plant-based plastic and waste plastic) used in all products will
increase to 30% by fiscal 2010. At present, raw materials used in consumer
electronics rely almost entirely on fossil materials such as petroleum, but
efforts to shift as much as possible to renewable resources (plant-based and
recycled materials) are moving forward from the perspective of limiting
emissions of greenhouse gases, with the aim of building a sustainable
recycling-oriented society. At the same time, plant-based plastics have the
potential to reduce the impact on the environment given that incinerating
these materials does not cause the concentration of carbon dioxide gas in
the atmosphere to rise. However, problems remain in terms of impact/shock
resistance, thermal resistance, cost and other factors, and their adoption
in the area of consumer durable goods, particularly electronic products,
remains limited. Against this background, Sharp has been conducting research
since 1999 on technologies to recycle waste plastic from consumer
electronics, and in May 2003, put such a recycling technology into practical
use to enable repeated re-use of polypropylene (PP) and polystyrene (PS)
recovered from four categories of discarded household electrical appliances
falling under the Home Appliance Recycling Law (air conditioners, TVs,
refrigerators and washing machines) in components in new manufactured
products in these four categories without loss of physical properties such
as material strength.

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