Mobile phones today are primarily built out of plastic, with few exceptions such as the Apple iPhone and Nokia N8 which use exotic materials like glass, steel and aluminum, but what if you wanted to build something green? Japanese giant NEC says that they’ve developed a bio-plastic that’s 70% made out of a compound which is a mixture of cellulose and cardanol, the primary substance that makes up cashew nut shells.
The cellulose in this new bio-plastic comes from the stems of plants, including grass trimmings that American suburbia throws away en masse, and when it’s combined with cardanol, which is extracted from discarded cashew nut shells, it creates a material that’s ideal because it uses fewer petroleum based products. Unlike other bio-plastics that are made from substances that could be going into the mouths of the poor, this new compound is made from agricultural waste.
NEC say they have to do more research on this new compound before releasing it to the public, but that in around 3 years it’s likely that it’ll be mass produced and in products available on store shelves. No word as to the price difference between regular polluting plastics and bio-plastics, but say the gap was enough to limit the purchase of this green material to those with more disposable income.
Are you willing to spend more to save the world? Are you willing to spend more to show off to your neighbors and strangers that you care about the environment? I ask these questions because in 2007 Nokia released one of their feature phones, the 3110, in a variant that was ecologically friendly. Sales were abysmal, and no one really understood why. The device came with a high efficiency charger, covers that were made out of 60% recycled material and not painted with poisonous inks, and the box it came in was made out of recycled paper.
Why can’t all devices come like that?