Sanyo Electric's subsidiary Sanyo Mavic Media has developed MildDisc which goes to market in December 2003. The disc is based on poly lactid acid which is produced from corn. It is planned to replace completely plastic compact discs, because it is recycleable and environmental friendly. The discs developed by Sanyo will degrade after a period of about 50 to 100 years and break down into water and carbon dioxide. When the discs are released, they will be around 3 times more expensive than current CD or DVD recordables, but will drop to 1.2 according to the manufacturer.
Sanyo Electric has developed an optical disc based on a polymer derived from corn which, the company says, is as sturdy as current plastic discs but will biodegrade when disposed of.
The discs have been designed to tackle a problem common to many plastics upon disposal : If burned, toxic gases can be released into the atmosphere causing health and global warming concerns; but if buried, they don't break down, causing a potential problem for future generations.
The MildDisc will degrade after a period of about 50 to 100 years and break down into water and carbon dioxide, Watson said.
The disc, dubbed "MildDisc" by Sanyo, was to have been offered to customers from December last year and volume production was due to begin in the first half of this year but this has been delayed while Sanyo refines the technology, said Ryan Watson, a spokesman for the Osaka-based company.
Sanyo is promoting its use in place of conventional discs for applications such as free CDs bundled with magazines or discs that are given away at trade shows or via direct mailings.
Production of the plastic used in the MildDisc begins with Cargill Dow LLC in the U.S. It mills kernels of corn to separate out the starch and then processes these to get unrefined dextrose.
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