NEC Corporation announced today that NEC Platforms, a wholly owned subsidiary, has begun global sales of “NeCycle,” a cellulosic, highly functional bioplastic that contains approximately 50% non-edible plant ingredients and biodegrades in natural environments in approximately four years. NeCycle is made up of cellulose, a non-edible plant resource obtained from woods, rice straw, etc., and safe ingredients, while featuring environmentally friendly properties, such as long-term degradability in the ocean, and having durability that is applicable to a wide range of products. NEC has an accomplished record of researching and developing this material, and is now beginning mass production and sales of this material through NEC Platforms.
Plastic is a material with excellent moldability, durability, ability to be mass produced, and is an indispensable material for society, as it is utilized in all aspects of industry and life. However, since plastics are produced by consuming fossil resources, and there are concerns about their impact on the ecosystem by remaining as refuse without decomposing in natural environments, their lack of environmental friendliness has become a major issue. NEC was among the first organizations to begin addressing these problems with plastics, and has been developing alternative materials since the early 2000s.
Recently, NEC Platforms succeeded in mass production of NeCycle by making improvements to its properties such as durability and establishing a manufacturing and quality assurance system. NEC Platforms will propose optimal component shapes, molding conditions, and mold designs for NeCycle, while expanding sales of pellets and molded components for interior products, automotive products, and office automation equipment that emphasize environmental and decorative properties. First, NEC Platforms will start with products that require a high level of added value and environmental friendliness, while planning expansion of business scale and aiming for annual sales of 5 billion JPY (approximately 46 million USD) in FY2025.
- Environmental characteristics
NeCycle is composed of cellulose (about 50%) extracted from non-edible biomass that does not impact food supply issues, such as woods and rice straw, and safe ingredients. Moreover, NeCycle biodegrades in about four years in natural environments, such as the ocean and soil, and is expected to contribute to the realization of a “circular society,” including the solution of marine plastic waste problems.
- Durability and moldability
NeCycle has durability that can be applied to a wide range of products, and moldability that enables mass production through injection molding, making it as convenient as conventional plastics.
- Decorative property
NeCycle expresses black colors that are deep and warm, similar to lacquer, and have a high-grade feeling without going through the coating process. Since the coating process is no longer necessary, the degree of flexibility of product shape and mass productivity are improved.