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December 4, 2007

Sony Commences In-House Recycling of Flame-retardant Polystyrene

To be incorporated in 2008 BRAVIA LCD TV Lineup

Sony has established an industry-first, in-house system for regenerating plastic (polystyrene) waste from previously sold Sony CRT TVs, and polystyrene foam packaging materials into high quality, flame-retardant polystyrene that can be reused as parts in "BRAVIA" LCD TVs. This in-house regeneration delivers two significant advantages by reducing the use of new materials and lowering production costs.

Conventionally, polypropylene has been reused within the consumer electronics industry, as it is considered more conducive to recycling. However polystyrene, which is the key raw material used in plastic for TV parts, had not been reused due to the difficulty of removing extraneous substances and ensuring sufficient flame and impact resistance.

This new system for reusing plastics from CRT color TVs draws on the many environmental measures Sony has introduced in its TV design and development since the early 1990s, such as replacing and reducing the range of flame-retardants it uses, labeling which specific flame retardant substances and materials have been used, promoting the use of uniform materials, and introducing designs that enable the efficient dismantling of products. As a result of these measures, Green Cycle Corporation (located in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture), which carries out Sony's activities related to the Japan Home Appliance Recycling Law, has established a system of retrieving these environmentally designed products after approximately 10 years of use, and has streamlined the process of removing extraneous substances.

Furthermore, polystyrene foam found in packaging for product parts had previously only been reused and reformed as polystyrene foam products, due to the material's fragility and light weight. However, Sony has implemented a new proprietary additive that, when added to polystyrene foam, enhances its heat and impact resistance to a sufficient level for use in TV parts. Applying this process, Sony Inazawa TEC (Inazawa City, Aichi Prefecture) is now able to recycle its polystyrene foam waste into flame-retardant polystyrene.

In terms of environmental impact, the use of recycled flame-retardant polystyrene is estimated to reduce CO2 emissions by 30 - 40% compared to the use of new materials.

Sony will incorporate flame-retardant polystyrene created using this system in its new "BRAVIA" LCD TV lineup for the Japanese market, scheduled for introduction in Spring 2008. With sales of "BRAVIA" LCD TVs continuing to increase, Sony will further advance its efforts to ensure the effective use of finite resources.

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