Industry News

Sony Plans to Offer SORPLAS™, a Flame-retardant Recycled Polycarbonate Plastic to Retailers

Published on 2014-08-07. Author : SpecialChem

TOKYO, Japan -- Sony Corporation ("Sony") announced that from the beginning of October 2014, it will commence selling its flame-retardant recycled plastic, SORPLAS™ (Sustainable Oriented Recycled Plastic) outside the Sony Group, and will offer this product to a wide variety of manufacturing business operators such as consumer electronics retailers, both within Japan and abroad.

SORPLAS is flame-retardant recycled plastic comprising polycarbonate plastic recycled from materials such as optical discs from discarded DVDs and optical sheets (light-diffusing films) used in LCD televisions. These recycled materials use Sony's own unique sulfur-based flame retardant to achieve a highly durable, highly heat-resistant plastic that uses up to 99% recycled materials.*1 Sony first put SORPLAS to practical use in 2011, adopting the material in its BRAVIA™ series of LCD televisions. Since then, SORPLAS has been incorporated into a wide variety of Sony products. Now, Sony plans to offer this material to various organizations outside the Sony Group, with the objective of contributing to society by promoting the reuse of resources and reducing environmental impact.

Conventionally, scrap polycarbonate plastic disposed of at manufacturing and other facilities has been reused by adding large amounts of new polycarbonate plastic and flame retardant. This additional process is to satisfy the flame resistance and strength requirements of consumer electronics products. (Generally speaking, regular flame-retardant recycled polycarbonate plastic contains around 55% added new polycarbonate plastic and approximately 15% flame retardant*2.) SORPLAS incorporates Sony's own unique sulfur-based flame retardant, which achieves flame resistance equivalent to conventional flame retardant but with only the tiniest amount added — less than 1 per cent overall (or less than one-tenth of conventional flame retardant weight*3). This allows the properties of polycarbonate plastic to be retained. Furthermore, a high proportion of recycled materials can be used as a result, while still achieving enhanced durability and thermal resistance than conventional flame-retardant polycarbonate plastic. Even when the material is recycled repeatedly or used in severe environments, the properties can successfully be retained. In addition, CO2 emissions can be dramatically reduced because only a very small amount of new polycarbonate plastic and flame retardant needs to be added, which helps contribute to a lower environmental impact.

On this occasion, three varieties of SORPLAS with distinct properties have been developed to suit the specific requirements of a variety of products, encompassing multiple types of scrap polycarbonate plastic and modified blend ratios of various additives.
  • High good moldability type "SPL-EC30": Good moldability and easy to mold
  • High impact type "SPL-EC50": Resistant to high impacts
  • Thin, flame-retardant type "SPL-R20T": Thin and difficult to burn

Sony aims to promote the recycling of resources and contribute to a lower environmental impact on society by widely offering these varieties of SORPLAS outside the Sony Group, at approximately the same price as conventional flame-retardant polycarbonate plastic.

Main features of SORPLAS
  1. Achieves up to 99% recycled materials*1
  2. Sony's unique sulfur-based flame retardant achieves flame resistance equivalent to conventional flame-retardant recyclable polycarbonate plastic but with only the tiniest amount of flame retardant — less than 1% of the total mass (or less than one-tenth of conventional flame retardant weight *3).

  3. Achieves high durability and heat resistance
  4. The required weight of flame retardant is so small that conventional properties of the plastic can be retained. SORPLAS achieves even better durability and heat resistance (+42°C) than conventional flame retardant polycarbonate plastic*3 that has been created using entirely new materials.

  5. Environmental impact is reduced through lower CO2 emissions and high recycled content
  6. CO2 emissions can be dramatically reduced because only a very small amount of new polycarbonate plastic and flame retardant needs to be added. Similarly, only a small amount of flame retardant is required, so the properties of the plastic can be retained, even when recycled repeatedly. This in turn helps contribute to reduced environmental impact.

*1: The amount of recycled content changes depending on the application.
*2: Based on Sony research, current at the time of this release on August 4, 2014.
*3: Comparison with typical flame retardant polycarbonate plastic containing phosphorus flame retardant.
* SORPLAS and BRAVIA are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Corporation

About Sony

Sony Corporation, commonly referred to as Sony, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Kōnan Minato, Tokyo, Japan. Its diversified business is primarily focused on the electronics, game, entertainment and financial services sectors. The company is one of the leading manufacturers of electronic products for the consumer and professional markets. Sony is ranked 87th on the 2012 list of Fortune Global 500.

Source: Sony Corporation

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