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A bio-based plastic believed to achieve the world’s highest level of flame retardance has been developed.
The new bio-based plastic, called Ecodear, includes more than 25% (by weight) of a plant-derived component and will be used in exterior plastic parts for multifunction office systems.
The new plastic was developed by Canon Inc and Toray Industries Inc, this after Canon switched from a petroleum-based material to a biodegradable plastic for the packaging band it used for medical products in 2006.
It is the first bio-based plastic applicable for use in multifunction office systems to achieve 5V classification under the UL 94 flammability testing program.
Plant-derived bio-based plastics, made from polyactic acid, apparently curb increases in CO² by drawing on the innate cyclical nature of plants, decreasing the consumption of oil resources.
To date, bio-based plastics have not performed as well as conventional petroleum-based plastics in such areas as flame retardance, impact resistance, heat resistance and mouldability.
Their use in plastics has therefore been limited to a very few number of parts.
Canon intends to introduce multifunction office systems that incorporate the new plastic, with initial plans to use around 100 tonnes of the material per year.
Canon and Toray will continue to work together in the aim of realising further enhancements in the field of bio-based plastics with the aim of expanding the range of applications in which they can be used.
When buried in landfill sites, microbes in the soil break the newly-developed plastic down into water and CO² - referring to CO² absorbed by plants from the air, not newly generated CO² introduced into the atmosphere.