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8/18/2008
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Samsung Makes 'Eco' Mobile Phone Out Of Corn

We Americans love our corn. The documentary film King Corn shows just how much, by tracking the grain in our pork, beef, bread, soda, chicken, french fries, even spaghetti sauce. Some day, even our pockets may be full of kernals, now that Samsung has developed an "eco-phone" made from a corn-based bio-plastic.

We Americans love our corn. The documentary film King Corn shows just how much, by tracking the grain in our pork, beef, bread, soda, chicken, french fries, even spaghetti sauce. Some day, even our pockets may be full of kernals, now that Samsung has developed an "eco-phone" made from a corn-based bio-plastic.Samsung is among a small wave of early adopters in the green phone sweepstakes, joining Nokia and NEC. The good news is that Samsung has found a way to eliminate the use of heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, and cadmium, in the handset manufacturing process. And the company claims "one ton of bio-plastic used in the E200 Eco is able to reduce 2.16 ton of CO2 compared to Polycarbonate produced from petroleum."

A-maizing? Corntastic? Not really.

Making phones out of corn doesn't necessarily make them eco-friendly. We don't know much about how these phones will biodegrade or be recycled. And there's concern about how the use of corn in manufacturing might cause commodity (and food) prices to rise further. We've already seen prices rise, and environmental damage, as a result of the spike in ethanol production.

At the moment it's a moot point here in the United States. The Samsung E200 Eco and its cousins, the W510 and F268 (catchy names, no?), are not yet available here. We'll have to confine our corn consumption to what on our plates (believe me -- there's plenty).

Halfway through August the corn is as high as an elephant's eye, and so is Samsung, if it thinks its corn phone is the answer to our environmental problems. Green solution? Try greenhorn solution -- which may someday develop into a viable alternative to today's petroleum-based plastics.

In the meantime, check out the trailer for King Corn:

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