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A Paper Alloy To Replace Plastic Cases

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the my-phone-wasn't-flammable-enough dept.

Earth 182

xwwt writes "In response to a paper by Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics, PEGA Design & Engineering has developed a new product that is intended to replace plastic shell material in computer equipment and electronics. The product contains a combination of paper and polypropylene (PP) which aids in recycling efforts and is intended to keep non-recyclable materials out of landfills. The PP should break down in sunlight and can be reclaimed. There is concern that polypropylene cannot be separated from the paper fiber and brings into question how the material will be recycled. As poster Paul Davis points out, it might have been better to use polylactic acid. Ultimately, it raises the question: is this truly a recyclable material?"

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Wrap this post in paper (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39040011)

And mark it first

"Trully recyclable" ? (0)

arisvega (1414195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040013)

What does that even mean?

Re:"Trully recyclable" ? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39040463)

What does that even mean?

"Trully recyclable" is a typo, what they mean is that some materials can be reused, infinitely and economically for the same purpose. Examples would be copper or aluminum. Many materials are not recyclable, but they are downcyclable which means that every time you reclaim them the end product is a raw material for a lower grade product. Water Bottles for example get downcycled into lower grade packaging which in turn gets downcycled into garden furniture which gets downcycled into concrete supplements. Plastic is probably one of the most serious and damaging pollutants in the modern world. The oceans are full of it and it clogs up beaches around the world in enormous quantities. Finding a substitute that is either biodegradable or truly recyclable would be very important. But then of course you already knew that, you just couldn't resist letting out your inner spelling nazi. Nevertheless, thank you for this opportunity, it's been fun treating you like an idiot.

Re:"Trully recyclable" ? (4, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040705)

It is our God-given right to throw plastic away. What kind of America would this be if I couldn't just chuck my non-biodegradable products into the nearest ditch!

Quit your social engineering. What are you, some sort of communist?

Sorry, "Polypropylene" just aint bio-degradable ! (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041013)

I am sorry, but polypropylene isn't something that is bio-degradable !!

Wikipedia's page on polypropylene ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polypropylene [wikipedia.org] ) has this to say ---

" ... it is rugged and unusually resistant to many chemical solvents, bases and acids"

Read what you wanted, huh? (2)

Niscenus (267969) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041613)

But when I went to that article, I found, "Polypropylene is liable to chain degradation from exposure to heat and UV radiation such as that present in sunlight."

Wait a minute...did you recently write an article for 16 concerned scientists?

Re:"Trully recyclable" ? (4, Funny)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041115)

Well, it's my 'God Given Right', to buy stuff that doesn't break, not ever. Buy it once, last a lifetime.

Fuck recyclable, give me government mandated, cut the testicles off the manufacturing executives, life time warranties.

Let's see evolution in action, want shoddy products out of the market, let's remove the evolutionary opportunities of people who make shoddy products.

Last a lifetime, don't need no recycling, we'll have a whole lot less rubbish to deal with. For you recyclers I will accept the compulsory recycling of packaging of life time warranty products. Now that's from the gut grump old man thinking ;D.

Re:"Trully recyclable" ? (1)

Gozzin (2125020) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041303)

Well, it's my 'God Given Right', to buy stuff that doesn't break, not ever. Buy it once, last a lifetime.

Fuck recyclable, give me government mandated, cut the testicles off the manufacturing executives, life time warranties.

YES! This plan sounds like Planned obsolescence to me..In five years,your computer's case starts to fall apart.

Let's see evolution in action, want shoddy products out of the market, let's remove the evolutionary opportunities of people who make shoddy products.

Last a lifetime, don't need no recycling, we'll have a whole lot less rubbish to deal with. ;D.

I agree...Steampunk for all that lasts a lifetime!

Re:"Trully recyclable" ? (3, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041491)

A "product" used to hold a kind of connotation that it's the last and final solution you will ever buy. So from that angle, there were hardy materials used and life-time warranties issued in some cases. And they really were robust. Take my 1960's Sunbeam toaster my mother handed down to me. These days it's a whole other ball game. Technology is such a fast moving target that the "product" in question is already obsolete the second the design is finalized and well before production starts. This pace of progress is being pushed by the producers as equally as it's being pulled by the consumer. No one corporation is to blame for this. It's a force of nature unto its own created and nurtured by modern society.

All that said. Who cares if my computer is 100% recyclable. It know my current MacBook will be replaced in a year or so, and the next one replaced some four years later after. My modern material possessions are no longer for keeps.

Re:"Trully recyclable" ? (4, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041553)

You hit the nail on the head. That Sunbeam toaster is still useful, but don't use mom's refrigerator, even if it is still in new condition... a brand new refrigerator would pay for itself in very short order due to the energy savings. Computers, phones, and other modern electronics progress so quickly that "durability" need only be measured in years. Who the hell would still be walking around with a brick phone, even if it still worked and the analog network were still running? For that matter, who would use a Star Tac, which was the iPhone of 1998? Who wants my 1980 23" cabinet Zenith TV?

A kitchen should last 30 years, not a piece of electronics.

And some things are built far better than they were in ye olden days - cars being the best example. Show me a car from the 50s, 60s, or 70s that could go 100,000 miles with just oil changes and brake pads. Show me a 5 year, 50,000 mile warranty from back then.

Re:"Trully recyclable" ? (1)

ToThoseOfUs (2377416) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041179)

And when I'm done suckin' down those grease ball burgers I'm gonna wipe my mouth on the American flag and then toss the Styrofoam containers right out the side, and there ain't a God-damned thing anybody can do about it. You know why? Because we got the bombs, that's why! --Denis Leary

Re:"Trully recyclable" ? (4, Informative)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040755)

Plastic is truly recyclable. It is just a lot cheaper to pump new oil out of the ground than to properly separate out the hydrocarbons. See also monomer recycling [wikipedia.org]

Re:"Trully recyclable" ? (2)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041197)

Why do we always subsidize stupid shit and rarely any of the things that are good for us or the planet?

You know what would make it cheaper? A goddamned government subsidy.

renewable (2)

npridgeon (784063) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040089)

It's a step in the right direction. Maybe it's not completely recyclable. At least it's made from partially renewable materials.

Re:renewable -or not (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041529)

It's a step in the right direction.

Or not.

If it is like these "biodegradable" plastic bags, than it isn't. I put "biodegradeable" in quotation marks because it should be called "out-of-sight-out-of-mind plastic". They add metals into the plastic, so it brakes down quicker. But while it looks like it's rotting away, it just brakes down into tiny strands that remain present in the soil.

And that so called "compound" stuff? I can somehow understand it with park benches. It at least keeps stuff out of the landfill and reduces the amount of treated wood. But computer cases? End of the recycling for all the material, in a case where one could easily use pure materials. Just use steel, aluminum, or PP. Put QR codes or something on the material and offer free recycling or a discount like with toner cartridges.

Will this laptop ... (3, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040099)

... have a sunlight readable screen?

The PP should break down in sunlight and can be reclaimed.

Well, it did for a while.

Re:Will this laptop ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39040313)

Wow, talk about planned obsolescence!

Re:Will this laptop ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39040491)

It's OK. There's no sunlight in your mom's basement.

Won't degrade well in the landfill? (4, Interesting)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040419)

Will this laptop have a sunlight readable screen?

The PP should break down in sunlight and can be reclaimed.

Well, it did for a while.

And it won't have any sunlight in the landfill so it won't degrade very well? I thought one problem with landfills is that things that should degrade do not due to a lack of sunlight, oxygen, etc. IIRC some researchers have dug around in landfills from the 40s and 50s and found well preserved newspapers and other theoretical degradables. On the other hand some landfills are producing enough methane to make capture economical. Is it a soil thing? Breathable/permeable vs something more impenetrable?

Re:Won't degrade well in the landfill? (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040515)

All modern landfills are created in a sealed pit. Clay and sheets of thick plastic are used to prevent contaminates from leaching into the water table. I would imagine that if you were to harvest methane, you would pump air down to the bottom of the landfill, let it perculate up, and the collect the methane at the surface.

Re:Won't degrade well in the landfill? (5, Informative)

Appolonius of Perge (961983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040559)

Methane is generated by anaerobic processes. You wouldn't pump air in to generate methane; you'd just collect it as it built up as bacteria turned solid and liquid waste into the gas.

Re:Won't degrade well in the landfill? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39040987)

You wouldn't pump air in to generate methane

Yes, I would.

Err - sorry. For a moment there, I thought this was one of those silly RIAA anti-piracy commercials.

Well, whatever. Maybe I wouldn't pump air in to generate methane, but I'd still download a car, given the opportunity. :p

Re:Won't degrade well in the landfill? (2)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041591)

The "new" thinking and practice on landfills is not to hermetically seal the thing, but to keep it moist and bio-reactive. They basically put a big impermeable mat down, throw garbage and dirt on top, and then pour water on it. They suck methane out and run generators with it locally if they can, and they pump the nasty water out of the bottom and pour it right back on top. They keep doing this until the water that comes out the bottom isn't quite as nasty and the methane production tapers off. Then they add more garbage and continue the cycle.

This accomplishes a few things. First, it makes reduces any long-term leaching problems because they already rinsed most of the nasty stuff that was going to leach out. Second, the landfill compresses considerably in size, so it stays open longer and can accept more garbage. It also reduces the amount of nasty water that needs to be pumped from the bottom and sent to the local water treatment plant.

Re:Will this laptop ... (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040585)

Everything is recyclable in a billion year time frame. Every dead species will arise again. How many times has Atlantis sank? How many secrets lost?

Even if we sterilize the planet, life will most likely be found on it later. It's not an optimal solution but no one said this universe is fair just very persistent at trying.

Re:Will this laptop ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39041123)

Every dead species will arise again.

Come to think of it... they haven't made a "zombie dinosaur apocalyse" movie yet, have they? =)

Re:Will this laptop ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39041627)

Atlantis has never been real, it was a metaphor created by Plato to symbolise intelligence....JEEZ

Want recyclable? Go stylish... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040107)

...be cyber-punk [datamancer.net]
(disclaimer: not affiliated in any way with datamancer, just love the designs)

Re:Want recyclable? Go stylish... (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040431)

That's more steampunk than cyberpunk, but still impressive.

Re:Want recyclable? Go stylish... (2)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040461)

That's more steampunk than cyberpunk, ....

You're right, I stand corrected, thank you.

New warning on products (3, Interesting)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040109)

Keep out of direct sunlight, product may disintegrate

Re:New warning on products (4, Funny)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040169)

Brought to you be the people who think maybe the geeks are getting out of the basement a little TOO often.

Re:New warning on products (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39041131)

Specially made for trolls and vampires.

is this truly a recyclable material? (3, Insightful)

jsse (254124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040125)

Glass

Re:is this truly a recyclable material? (2)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040521)

fuck yeah. and aluminum. and steel. you know, some people might want to use their radio or mp3 player outdoors a lot.......

Re:is this truly a recyclable material? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39040695)

Stop relying on recycling. Seriously. Hamilton, Ontario has a steel mill that has an arc furnace to recycle steel. They don't run it during the day since it has the power draw of all of Burlington(a near by town). People need to start think more about the other 2 Rs. Reduce and Reuse.

Re:is this truly a recyclable material? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39040917)

Even many plastics...

Want to recycle and have the largest impact? Buy used. Takes a shit ton of energy to make a car, house, cpu, etc etc etc...

Knowing Greenpeace (3, Funny)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040135)

They will just protest even more claiming that those electronics are "made of dead trees".

Re:Knowing Greenpeace (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040289)

Is there an incident where Greenpeace has opposed a responsibly managed forest that wasn't recently cleared from old growth?

Re:Knowing Greenpeace (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041083)

"http://kleercut.net/en/ResponsetoKC"

Forestry in large old growth forests is sometimes the most responsible thing. The boreal forest is massive, and it used to burn at (long) intervals. We've done our best to stop the burning for economic, safety and potentially misguided environmental reasons. Logging those forests responsibly and at long intervals can be good for the forest and better than intensely "farming" smaller areas.

Cutting old growth forests isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's not as if forestry is cutting down all the trees. Forested area is increasing in Canada.

Wau...wait a tick... (3, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040155)

Doesn't greenpeace like whine and cry over the amount of paper products we use? And let's not forget we have more forest here in north america, and we grow trees for pulping and lumbering just for that purpose anyway. But, considering the amount of anti-industrial, anti-progress, lets move society back in time crap that comes out of them anymore. People should just ignore them as the special interest group that they are.

Besides, the only real reason why we use plastic is because it's durable, lightweight and cheap. If we had a metal that was durable and light and cheap we'd use that too.

Re:Wau...wait a tick... (1)

stuckinarut (891702) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040445)

The idea behind this is that is can be manufactured from recycled materials more effectively, it doesn't mention how recyclable the product is itself.

Compared to plastic, the materials needed to make Paper PP Alloy are easy to retrieve.

The mixture of different plastics causes the major issues for effective plastic recycling. [wikipedia.org]

Separation Costs can dictate a lot (1)

regular_guy (1979018) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041667)

You're right to point out the serious issues of trying to recycle mixed polymer plastics. While we're all familiar with downcycling, your post reminded me about the costs of separation processes, and I thought i might drag up my old book. From Humphrey and Keller's Separation Process Technology "Plants commonly have from 40% to 70% of both capital and operating costs in separations."

Polymer blends provide desired properties from their individual components, but the amount of energy that would be required to break those down and at a desired purity (not considering the minute amount of catalyst often consumed in the polymerization process as well as flame retardants and other additives fuzzyfuzzyfungus pointed out ) just makes it too costly to break down the polymer blend into the purity levels that companies want in their raw materials.

Re:Wau...wait a tick... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39040453)

The word you want is nowadays, not anymore.

Re:Wau...wait a tick... (4, Insightful)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040555)

And let's not forget we have more forest here in north america

More than what? North America has less than 9% of the original old growth forest it had before mankind landed here. And the land being used for lumber and pulping is being degraded, so that they have to move on to other forest areas over time. Heaven forbid someone point out the dangerous and destructive practices that are destroying our world at an alarming and increasing rate. Let's just call them a special interest group and keep plowing on.

Since 1900 (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040691)

The number of trees and the amount of forest has increased.

The suburbs has been fairly effective in turning farmland into urban forests.

Mind you, it does not answer the question about old growth forests, etc. but still....

Re:Wau...wait a tick... (2)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040751)

If I remember right. 40% of north america was still in an moderate to heavy ice age period when "man landed here" so really the only increase you're going to see in forest is up. Then again, living in Canada and all that we've been doing this for nearly 100 years without too much of a problem. And again, the only places where forests are degrading is where we've stopped natural burn and clear cycles from happening from forest fires. Allowing invasive species to take hold like pine beetles.

Re:Wau...wait a tick... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39041139)

> And again, the only places where forests are degrading is where we've stopped natural burn and clear cycles from happening from forest fires

Hyperbole much? The only places? Yep, the Manhattan forests are pretty much unchanged ...

Re:Wau...wait a tick... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39041251)

Context much? GP was talking about the degradation of existing forest areas used for logging.

Re:Wau...wait a tick... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041641)

North America has less than 9% of the original old growth forest it had before mankind landed here.

I can't imagine that many of the forests from 14,000 years ago would resemble their old selves by now, man or no man.

I don't know, so I'm being honest with this question: Does a forest still count as "old growth" if it is wiped out by a natural fire?

Re:Wau...wait a tick... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39040625)

There's a rational discussion to be had about the best material choice for a variety of uses. It's a pity that Mashiki decided to go with ad hominems and distortions instead.

Use Polylactic acid instead? (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040195)

Apparently that breaks down in the presense of oxygen. You know, like anywhere in earths oceans and atmosphere...

Re:Use Polylactic acid instead? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041071)

PLA is reasonably stable under everyday conditions(as some would-be composters have discovered to their chagrin... it can be composted but your technique has to be up to the task) The real killer, for something like computer packaging, is the low glass transition temperature. You can get quite dramatic and swift deformation at under 100 degrees, and enough softening to creep under trivial mechanical stress lower still.

Having a laptop case that will start deforming at temperatures quite plausibly reached by forced-air-cooling exhaust would be a bit of a reliability liability...

sounds like.. (3, Informative)

epyT-R (613989) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040205)

I'm not a chemist, but this sounds like one of those substances that'll degrade before it should, causing premature failure. plastic has gotten cheap and unreliable enough these days that I wonder if any increased recyclability is being offset by more products being thrown away due to premature breakage. perhaps it's anecdotal, but around the early 1990s, I noticed plastics getting lighter and more brittle, and larger products made with them had structural problems compared with their predecessors. examples coming to mind include kids toys, household appliances, automotive components, and personal electronics.

Re:sounds like.. (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040535)

have you seen the chinese plastic cased space heaters that eventually melt and catch ablaze? this shit also would be a fire hazard.

Re:sounds like.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39040741)

>but around the early 1990s, I noticed plastics getting lighter and more brittle

It is about the time frame when manufacturing were out sourced to China. China has not figured out how to make cheap plastic without degrading their quality.

Re:sounds like.. (1)

Trecares (416205) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040967)

It's all about matching the product to it's expected life cycle. Why over-engineer a product if it's expected to only last x number of (years, cycles, uses, etc) Anything more is a waste of raw materials.

Older products had to be over-engineered because we didn't have computers and software sophisticated enough to run simulations to predict stresses within their structure. It was easier to just make it thick enough and leave it at that. Plus there's advances in chemistry and production processes. Injection molded plastics are also affected by their cooling rates, with faster cooling resulting in more brittle parts.

If you don't like what's happening, you can always demand a better quality product which may or may not be available.

Re:sounds like.. (1)

epyT-R (613989) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041021)

or perhaps quality could be pushed as a means of limiting pollution..ie make the product once instead of 3 times per customer, and encourage a repair rather than replace culture.

Re:sounds like.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39041649)

epyT-R is a known fucktard

Re:sounds like.. (3, Insightful)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041371)

It's all about matching the product to it's expected life cycle. Why over-engineer a product if it's expected to only last x number of (years, cycles, uses, etc) Anything more is a waste of raw materials.

Because when a man builds a machine, it is a sacred thing. It's what separates us from lower forms of life and is the physical manifestation of our God-given intellect. To build a shoddy machine that can't be relied upon to perform its stated function when you had the choice to build a good one is an abomination against nature.

Re:sounds like.. (2)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041291)

. plastic has gotten cheap and unreliable

It doesn't work that way. There are thousands of different kinds of plastic. Different plastics are being used in different applications. Nylon is nylon is nylon. It's a chemical compound. It doesn't change over time.

Umm, solving the wrong problem? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040231)

Even if it is a good idea as a case material(which isn't entirely clear, that plastic isn't going to be any more fun to recycle because of the tree guts mixed in, and the tree guts aren't going to be any more biodegradeable for the plastic encasing them, and any pigments, release agents, flame retardants, and other miscellanious additives aren't going to be any friendlier than they were in the usual ABS or polycarbonate...), the billing on the website as "the solution to e-waste" seems deeply overblown.

Case plastics aren't made of bunnies and happy thoughts, true, and mixed plastics are often not recycled(and if they are, issues like the difficulty of getting the color of the recycled material right out of an already-pigmented feedstock often consign the recycled material to low-value applications); but much of the really nasty stuff is happening on the circuit boards, and in their manufacture, not in the case. Particularly for a portable, where the case is vital to protecting the guts, and keeping the machine from creaking and generally falling to bits, the durability of the case is a major factor in how many years of use you get from the device. It seems like compromising on the case, to make it incrementally less unpleasant, is a bit of a false economy if it decreases the service life of the nastier(and more expensive) components inside.

WTF Cares? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39040267)

After the exposure of AGW as a great scam, why is this a problem? If you do it properly
eg the Nederlands you use multi stage incinerators to burn down the output of the machine sort
line, which heat powers the entire plant, and the result, exhaust Co2, H2O can capture the Co2,
but with the next ice age comming, better not. The un-burnable slag can be mined for high value
material before being used in landgebau, Holland needs all the extra land it can safely make!

MFG, omb

Re:WTF Cares? (1)

manual_tranny (2566083) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041093)

So, if the people who presented global warming were using falsified data, that necessarily proves that global climate change does not exist? I'm here to tell you that this warm winter I've had here in Michigan and that frigid snowy Winter in Italy.. not to mention the melting ice in Antarctica... are telling a story that is very much in line with the "false prophets" of global warming. The only difference between AGW nuts and us that live in reality is... us realists realize that the world will warm and cool and kill us all without noticing or caring that we were ever here. It wasn't cars, or nuclear energy, or the higgs boson, or coal power plants that will doom the Earth. The Earth is doomed no matter what we do. We only hurt ourselves by hurting our environment. We realists know that while our time on Earth is spectacularly short, that the actual lifespan of a habitable planet is relatively short when you take a few steps back and see the real history of the universe. To quote my favorite comedian George Carlin: "The planet'll shake us off like a bad case of fleas."

Wonderful (1)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040273)

So products are going to get even cheaper and less reliable than they already are. Why the hell would anyone buy a computer case that is designed to fail?

Re:Wonderful (3, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040409)

> ...designed to fail?

That was "planned obsiolescence"[1]. It was evil. This is "biodegradeability". It is "Green". You are supposed to want your things to rot and fall apart. Creates jobs, you see. Buying stuff that is durable and using it until it wears out is what old people do. After all, you have to throw your 'pod away and buy the new model ever six months anyway, right?

[1] Not really, but that's what the popular press redfined it as.

Re:Wonderful (2)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041127)

Yup. And what it is is yet another idea sold to us using guilt and shame. Our inventions are ruining the environment, poisoning the earth, bringing us ever closer to disaster---and we're horrible, horrible people for it, they say. In order to feel good about ourselves and atone for our sins we need to be ashamed of ourselves and what we create, they say. And by sacrificing our worldly creations and making our lives more difficult we can make things better, they say. And who are "they"? Businessmen peddling "green" scams and politicians peddling new regulations, new taxes, new policies---people who will gain more power, more control, of us, and our wealth.

Does this story sound familiar?

Sorry, environmentalists, but if I wanted to feel good about myself by feeling bad about myself I'd (re)join a religion---one older and more interesting than yours, too. If I want to sacrifice, I'll go slaughter a goat or a ram rather than give up my gasoline-powered car for a bicycle or durable plastics for "biodegradable" junk. And if I want to believe the end of the world is near, the Book of Revelation is a lot more intriguing than the Book of Global Warming. :)

I do support sustainable development and using renewable resources---but only when it improves the standard of living for humanity, makes our lives better, or lowers our costs---not when it does the opposite. Solar energy is good for us because it relies on an (effectively) infinite resource, and removes our dependence on government- and corporate-controlled, centralized energy grids run on nonrenewable coal or oil. Same goes for wood-based heating vs. propane or natural gas. But these green initiatives stand in stark contrast to replacing useful, durable products with more expensive, failure-prone ones, which serves no purpose but to give the companies peddling this junk more control over us as we're forced to waste money buying their products over and over again.

And just wait until the government bans non-"paper alloy" plastics. For our own good, of course.

Dreams of the future past (3, Interesting)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040351)

A long time ago, during a more optimistic time when we dreamt of jet packs and lunar colonies (no,not by sacrifing the rest of the economy Newt Gingrich style) recycling wasn't going to be a problem.

Just drop waste into a plasma torch; everything would be reduced to "indivisible" atoms (yes I know that's what the word atom means).

I guess that particular dream vanished with the electric power from nuclear reactors that would be "too cheap to meter".

Anyway, not complaining too much. The past didn't see our future filled with fun handheld gadgets and the Internet. And who knows, maybe Siri will have a baby with Watson. (We should name him HAL). We also don't have nukes in low earth orbit ready to finish off the human race in a few minutes. Still, even though renewables will probably keep us warm in the winter and cool in the hotter summers, it's not clear that we'll have really high intensity power sources to squander, I mean use, anytime soon. I mean nuclear fusion is 20 years away and power from satellites even further.

Let's just hope it doesn't get as bad as in "The Windup Girl".

Re:Dreams of the future past (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39041017)

We also don't have nukes in low earth orbit ready to finish off the human race in a few minutes.

Speak for yourself.

Re:Dreams of the future past (1)

Raptoer (984438) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041721)

afaik the current limitations with plasma torch garbage disposal is not the power, but the plasma degrades the materials making up the furnace too quickly. If the input is general waste then the process produces as much energy as it takes. It needs energy to start or if the input doesn't have enough hydrocarbons.

Flammable? (2)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040425)

Sometimes, computers can get pretty warm.... and paper doesn't exactly have a very high point of combustion. How flammable is this stuff?

Re:Flammable? (2)

Bill Currie (487) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040801)

IIRC, paper's ignition point is 451 degrees Farenheight (about 233 degrees C). If things get that hot in your computer, you have bigger things to worry about than the case catching fire. Then again, a bit of water cooling and you have a cofffe maker.

Re:Flammable? (1)

Gozzin (2125020) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041357)

IIRC, paper's ignition point is 451 degrees Farenheight (about 233 degrees C). If things get that hot in your computer, you have bigger things to worry about than the case catching fire. Then again, a bit of water cooling and you have a cofffe maker.

:>D I'm so,so sorry I used up my mod points!

Re:Flammable? (1)

Gozzin (2125020) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041347)

Sometimes, computers can get pretty warm.... and paper doesn't exactly have a very high point of combustion. How flammable is this stuff?

Errrr,I'd not thought of this from that angle! :>O

What about Plastic? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39040485)

You plastic is almost 100% recyclable. You simply melt it and re-form it. Of course dyes, paint, and other coatings, dirt, and impurities mean that you usually have to add some new stock if you want a high quality product - but still, it recycles very well - at least better than paper does. The problem isn't that plastic doesn't recycle, the problem is that people throw it in the trash because they are too lazy to recycle, or the local governments don't actually do recycling.

Paper and some materials aren't as recyclable as most metal or plastic (f.e. paper fibers get shorter each time they are recycled, resulting in a weaker product), but they are more bio-degradable. I think 100% recyclable, but not biodegradable is the best option if you can actually recycle it. (If your stuff is bio-degradable, then .. it will degrade).

Now look at this material, it is part paper and part plastic. I suspect it's not easily 100% recyclable nor 100% biodegradable.

Re:What about Plastic? (1)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040543)

Lots of people use recycle bins, then the county's budget gets cut and they throw the stuff in the landfill anyway. Individuals are smart. Crowds are dumb.

Re:What about Plastic? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041111)

If it costs a lot of money to recycle, it's not necessarily a bad thing to put the material somewhere safe until new processes, scarcity, or a plant opening closer make it more economical.

make it out of chocolate (3, Funny)

MooseTick (895855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040579)

make it out of chocolate and everyone will want it and have to buy new ones regularly.

"should break down in sunlight" (1)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040749)

The green movement is so full of cow dung.

A minuscule percentage of the "break down in sunlight" bags actually do as they mostly get buried. In fact once buried deep enough nothing breaks down as no bacteria survive. They dug up a chicken bone meat and all after 50 years from a landfill.

This goes right next to these heavy green bags that replace the cheap disposable bags. The reality is that disposable bags get used again at least to hold rubbish. The reusable often do not and even they are 28 bags worth of plastic/energy most commonly used only a couple of times.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reusable_shopping_bag#Research

Re:"should break down in sunlight" (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041165)

In 2009, Walmart Stores proposed turning three California stores in to reusable bag only stores.[10] Concurrently, Walmart was prepared to introduce a $0.15 reusable bag. On 23 October 2009 Walmart abandoned plans to remove carrier bags but they continued to introduce the new lower cost bags. In contrast to previous bags sold at $0.99 and $0.50 these lower cost bags may reduce price incentive to reuse these heavy bags.

Well there's your problem. Around here the reusable bags cost several dollars and they definitely get reused. Disposable bags almost universally cost $0.05 (and hold a lot less), so at $0.15 even the non-free ones Walmart wants to introduce are practically the same price, and equally disposable.

When I was in Florida last month I had the amazing experience of watching a Walmart put my seven small grocery items into five bags.

is this truly a recyclable material?" (2)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040789)

Only if people stop burying it in landfills.
OTOH Most of what we know about ancient people is by digging through their trash.

Fire? (1)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#39040925)

Any guesses how well this does in a standard UL fire resistance test? My guess is it's not going to be the kind of case you want when your Li-ion cells do the Sony thing.

Does it turn mushy when you pour water on it?

It'll probably do fine if it's only a low percentage of paper (IE, it's just greenwashing), but if it's actually a substantial amount I would expect it to light off like a fire log.

Re:Fire? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041207)

I'm sure you could get it to pass a fire resistance test if you were willing to add enough flame retardants.

A pity that the most promising candidates are a collection of somewhat sinister organohalogens and organophosphates, research on which generally hasn't led to smiles among the world's toxicologists...

Alloy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39041031)

The details on this product are thin, but calling it an alloy sounds like a marketers idea to associate it with the properties of metals.

I think most people would call this a composite material.

I have this solid aluminum Mac Mini I'm using... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39041043)

Seems all sorts of recyclable, and won't require lots of nasty chemicals or more energy than starting from scratch to do it. Jobs solved this, why are they still trying, and failing, to figure it out?

Soylent Green for the PC? (1)

manual_tranny (2566083) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041055)

It may not degrade or recycle easily, but polyethylene burns with a very clean flame. Chemically, PE is very similar to gasoline. So what, the material is not recycleable? No big deal.. it will probably work well in a fossil fuel power station where their energy can be cannibalized by newer PCs. Kind of like a Soylent Green for PCs. :D

Re:Soylent Green for the PC? (1)

manual_tranny (2566083) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041153)

On a related topic, the future of vehicular electricity storage may reside in carbon-fiber-plastic composites that store lithium ions. The major drawback is obviously that this energy storage medium is currently very flammable. Of course, if that is ever solved, then we will have super or ultra capacitors that are, quite elegantly, also the body panels to our cars! :)

Who would have thought? (3, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041205)

So when I was repairing my surf ski with rolled up newspaper and polyester resin some years ago I was really making a "paper alloy"?
Deliberate fracture of language to make something sound like something else is to sign of a scam artist (or the marketing people for the composite in the article).

What about things we actually want to keep? (1)

ogdenk (712300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041299)

What about things we actually intend to NOT throw away or get rid of as soon as the next fad hits? It's already hard to enough to combat plastic yellowing due from UV exposure because of the bromine flame retardants.... now we have to keep it from disintegrating too? DO NOT WANT. At least with the yellowing issue, you can use 40vol cream peroxide gel and UV to reverse the process.

Why does everyone insist "green" means disposable? That mentality creates more waste as truly "green" electronics are a pipe dream....recycling electronics creates hazardous byproducts too BTW and not everybody is real clean about it.

And correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't ABS plastic ALREADY recyclable as well as steel and aluminum used in current PC chassis?

Is more crap ultimately being thrown away worth the switch in terms of costs to the environment? Why should I have to buy twice as much just to make a few hippies feel better? We can already recycle plastic. Plus.... I already recycle PC cases all the time as I'm sure most folks here do. Usually every few processor generations I slap some new guts in. Voila.....recycling at work.

crap construction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39041393)

How about instead of making stuff out of crap, flimsy materials, use aluminum or alloys that by nature are easily reusable and recyclable. I have no desire to buy a computer made out of plastic, nor paper that looks like plastic.

If you would recycle, use more metal. (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041423)

Metal has been recycled for hundreds of years, and is a fine material for PC and laptop cases. Cast alloy Toughbooks and other rugged machines are some examples.

Everything degrades in sunlight (2)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 2 years ago | (#39041597)

Some things just need to be uncomfortably close to the sun before it will degrade...
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