The Japanese lead the field, Sharp having developed technology to blend plant- and petroleum-based plastics and Fujitsu and NEC use plant-based plastics in their PC and notebook cases. Mitsubishi set out to use green plastics for the interior of its new-concept mini-car.
Now Ricoh is has become the first manufacturer to use plant-based plastics in a printer.
According to The Australian, the company is trialling two multi-function devices in which, Ricoh claims, more than half the plastics used are plant-based.
These 'plastics' are produced from lactic acid resulting from fermentation of starches and saccharides found in corn, potatoes and sugar canes. They are claimed to be more environmentally friendly than their oil-based alternatives.
Thus far, green plastics have been considered too costly with too many shortcomings. Ricoh has also experienced problems such as poor heat resistance. Now, though, it seems to be making progress. µ
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