NEC Releases Phone Made With Bioplastic and Kenaf

A new mobile phone has gone on sale in Japan that uses bioplastic for its casing. The Foma N701iECO phone uses polylactic acid (PLA) resin reinforced with kenaf fibres to replace oil-based plastics for the case. The casing was jointly developed by electronics firm NEC and textiles and plastics group Unitika. NEC said that adding kenaf fibres improved the strength and heat resistance of Unitika's PLA, which has the brand name Terramac. "By adding kenaf fibre, the temperature at which the PLA changes form can be improved by over 20°C," it said. Fall impact durability was increased by adding a biomass-based plasticiser and filler. Overall, approximately 90% of the casing is derived from biological sources, the companies said. NEC plans on substituting more than 10% of the oil-based plastics in its electronic products with bioplastics by 2010. Via tipster Kimiko Hong and PRW - thanks. :: NEC (Japanese only)