Japanese company Sharp has developed technology to mix corn-derived bioplastics with conventional plastics recovered from scrapped consumer appliances.
The company said it expects to use such blends in its consumer electronic products by early 2007.
Petroleum-derived plastics are generally incompatible with bioplastics so blends tend to show inferior properties such as impact strength and heat resistance. Sharp, however, claims to have overcome these problems with a micro dispersion technology that "dramatically" improves the properties of the blended material.
This, it noted, will build on its existing systems that enable repeated re-use of polypropylene and polystyrene from discarded electrical appliances in new products.
It estimates polymers derived from plants and the waste stream will grow to represent 30% of plastics used in all products by 2010.
The increase, it forecast, will be supported by the more favourable pricing of materials from renewable resources and by on-going trends towards more sustainable industrial practices.