Biodegradable Gadgets: Good Idea Poorly Executed?


Japanese electronics company Pioneer has apparently developed a biodegradable DVD, which is a cool idea, because, let’s face it, now that you want to slit to your wrists for buying that last Terminator movie, it would be safer for everybody if you could simply let it fade away. However, the biodegradable material is based on corn starch (genetically-modified corn make us nervous, keep reading). But Pioneer says the material could be cheaper than the polycarbonate that DVDs are currently made from. Although the bulk of the disc will be biodegradable, the data layer will have to be recycled separately. Pioneer expects the discs to be on the market with a year or two, but the idea remains controversial...Sony has also recently released products--a DVD player, walkman, and the Aibo robo-pooch--that employ polylactic acid (PLA)--i.e., genetically-modified corn-based--biodegradeable parts. The biopolymer parts are made from a material conceived of by Cargill/Dow which have been received with great doubt by the TreeHugger community due to their use of genetically modified corn, which concerned parties say could potentially and drastically change the face of the earth and help destroy biodiversity if not carefully monitored. Think Maximum Overdrive meets Children of the Corn, in the politically charged setting of X-Men. Please feel free to chime in on this topic. ::Sustainable Business [by MO]