Paper Laptops: Sturdy as Plastic

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Laptops fill landfills, it's a fact. But what if there was one made of recycled material, and it was paper?

That may be the future if PEGA D&E, a Chinese design consultancy, has its way. The idea is to make a laptop shell -– the part that's usually made of non-recyclable ABS plastic — out of a paper substance called Paper PP Alloy, a combination of recycled paper and polypropylene. Polypropylene is the same plastic used in some furniture and food containers (it's popular for the latter because it can go in a hot dishwasher without melting).

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The paper and plastic are joined in a composite but not mixed like a metal alloy. PEGA says the Paper PP Alloy is just as strong as ABS, and it can even be injection-molded.

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PEGA has thrown out laptop designs before, one inspired by Italian furniture, which exposes some of the metal frame to reduce the amount of plastic used. PEGA has also designed laptops using bamboo and cellulose acetate.

Both the paper and the plastic in the composite are recyclable — polypropylene has the "5" symbol you see on containers – so this could end up being the way to go for laptop manufacturers, especially as it doesn't require any new fabrication methods.

Image: PEGA D&E

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