The higher the tech gets, the more we get back to basics. This could easily describe the kind of product being discussed by NEC, which is making lots of noise about pursuing a new kind of bioplastic made from kenaf fiber and fermented corn. Talk about back to nature.
So this new bioplastic would apparently be lighter of weight and more able to withstand heat than its regular plastic and stainless steel predecessors. We’re talking about mobile phones and laptops here, of course, and NEC aims to start making the majorityof those products out of the bioplastic in about a year. Some phones are already made out of this stuff, and no huge complaints have been lodged. (In fact, it’s doubtful that many people have even noticed.)
As with most innovations, the big stumbling block so far has been price: It’s more expensive to make bioplastic than it is to make stainless steel. But that’s largely because of the kind of mass production that steelmakers enjoy that is not available to bioplastic-makers (yet).
NEC says it’s on a three-year plan, with 2010 as the target date for bioplastic basically taking over as the main ingredient in portable electronics devices.
One question we have, though: This should increase the speed at which these devices degrade, right? So shouldn’t NEC get big points on the Green-o-Meter?