27 Mai 2008

Nokia to launch 40 phones with biodegradable covers

Biomaterials such as PLA in models across the price range

According to a report in the Indian daily newspaper Business Standard, Nokia is planning to launch around 40 new green phone models this year — each comprising biodegradable components that can be easily recycled.

D Shivakumar, VP and managing director, Nokia India, told Business Standard: “We will be using biodegradable phone covers, recyclable battery designs that use less harmful toxic materials and energy efficient accessories for all our forthcoming phones. Already, we have eliminated the use of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) in all our phones.”

Nokia uses biomaterials, such as polylactic acid (PLA) plastics with plant or other biomass-based modifiers that help reduce the use of non-renewable materials. An additional bonus is that the energy required to produce PLA — from raw material to plastic pellet — is minimal.

Elastomers based on biomaterials can be used as rubber-like materials to seal off the battery case. Nokia’s Eco Sensor concept is rooting for the phone and detector units that will be optimised for lower energy consumption than phones in 2007 in both the manufacturing process and use. Alternative energy sources, such as solar power, will fuel the sensor unit’s power usage. “The green phones, which we will launch this year, will be introduced across all price ranges,” said Shivakumar.

There have been similar attempts by other researchers and companies too. For instance, a phone developed by Sony uses PLA. The bioplastic comprises around 60 per cent of the outer surface area of the phone’s case and battery cover. And a revolutionary biodegradable phone cover exhibited by researchers in London contained a sunflower seed. They used a biodegradable polymer as the mobile phone cladding and implanted a sunflower seed inside. The cover, when biodegrades in compost, releases important nutrients that nurse the growing sunflower seedling.

(Cf. news of 2008-02-12 and 2008-04-14.)

Source: Business Standard, 2008-05-21.

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