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.
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.
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). 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
Sorplas will be available for companies outside the Sony Group at approximately the same price as conventional flame-retardant polycarbonate plastic.