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Plastic substitute mouse squeeks dodgy eco benefits

Biodegradable or recyclable, Fujitsu doesn't know
Tue Jan 25 2011, 18:15

A GREENWASHING ATTEMPT by Fujitsu has turned into green spray back into its corporate face as the company has proven it doesn't know the difference between biodegradable and recyclable.

Fujitsu's badly written press release about its M440 ECO mouse product tells us not only that "less plastic waste is destined for landfill," but "the mouse is made from 100% biodegradable materials" and "substituting renewable materials for plastic, the ECO mouse is 100 [per cent] recyclable".

A real mouse, like the Muscardinus avellanarius or common Dormouse, is certainly 100 per cent biodegradable. Fujitsu's electronics and plastic substitute device however certainly can not be both 100 per cent biodegradable and at the same time 100 per cent recyclable.

Its electronics, scroll wheel and optical sensor are not about to degrade in any reasonable time frame unless Fujitsu is thinking in geological time scales. Parts of its mechanism are unlikely to be reused either, and its undoubtedly cheaper to just chuck it in the skip.

Fujitsu has leapt to these superlatives because for the mouse's casing it is using the no doubt trademarked Arboform and Biograde materials, which Fujitsu calls "plastic substitutes".

Arboform is made of lignin, a paper manufacturing by-product from trees, while Biograde is something The INQUIRER couldn't track down. It's probably something like all of those E numbers you see on the sides of some food products packaging.

After pointing out to Fujitsu that a material can be recyclable or biodegradable but normally if it it's the former it doesn't go in a landfill and if it's the latter it does, Fujitsu's PR people admitted to The INQUIRER, "There could have been a better way of phrasing it". Asked if the mouse was actually 100 per cent recyclable the company said "yes", but we doubt it.

In its dodgy release Fujitsu says it estimates that with its other plastic substitute product, a keyboard, it saves about 60,000kg of plastic per year. It just uses 60,000kg of plastic substitute instead and a lot more greenwash besides.

For those who want one of these no doubt limited edition items, the Mouse M440 ECO is available for £11 excluding VAT. We reckon that's about £5 more than an ordinary plastic mouse. µ


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