- Taking on polystyrene foam alternatives, a Sony initiative to reduce plastic packaging for large products -

- Taking on polystyrene foam alternatives, a Sony initiative to reduce plastic packaging for large products -

June 29, 2022

Sony Corporation, in pursuing the group's Road to Zero environmental plan seeking zero impact by 2050, is working toward medium-term Green Management 2025 targets that include reducing both plastic packaging and virgin plastic for other purposes (such as for products themselves) by 10% per product.

The 27-inch ELF-SR2 Spatial Reality Display released on June 12, 2023, realized a product packaged without polystyrene foam. Compared to packaging for the previous model,* use of virgin plastic has been halved, thanks to cushioning made of corrugated cardboard and molded pulp.

  • *Compared to packaging for the 15.6-inch ELF-SR1, released in 2020.

A solution combining corrugated cardboard and molded pulp

Chinami Sawada
Mechanical Design Dept.1, Mechanical Design Div.1, Product Technology Center, Sony Corporation

The key point behind packaging for this product was choosing the right material. Corrugated cardboard against the panel surface guards against cracks, and, if the box is jostled, protects against scratches. Molded pulp is selected for the back of the panel eliminating the folding operation needed for corrugated cardboard. As few parts as possible are made of corrugated cardboard, and refinements such as layering keep the folded structures simple while providing reinforcement. We've combined the advantages of corrugated cardboard and molded pulp to create sturdy paper-based cushioning.

Holes in the molded pulp accommodate the stand, ensuring that transportation is just as efficient with this material. The display and accessories can be easily removed and repackaged for those users intending to use the display for temporary exhibits. These kinds of details provide convenient storage in a neat package.

The progress we've made in replacing plastic cushioning will be invaluable as we continue to reduce plastic packaging.

Low-impact packaging designed with larger display products in mind

Keigo Matsuo
Platform Engineering Dept.6, Design Division, Sony Global Manufacturing & Operations Corporation

Display packaging must be designed for the heavier weight and glass parts of these products. That's why polystyrene foam, with its superior performance and economy, is generally used for cushioning. Packaging materials must also meet the stricter requirements of display products that are becoming ever larger yet slimmer.

Ensuring the durability and rigidity needed in packaging while replacing polystyrene foam with paper-based cushioning with the environment in mind was our biggest challenge this time, but working with our mechanical design team, we succeeded in maintaining high standards of quality.

Our packaging, besides being a means of safely delivering products, is also a way to convey our environmental commitment. In the future, we'll be expanding environmentally conscious packaging to other devices and larger display products.

Housing made with SORPLAS™ recycled plastic

Ryuichi Sugimoto
Mechanical Design Dept.1, Mechanical Design Div.1, Product Technology Center, Sony Corporation

Not only is the ELF-SR2 packaged with paper-based cushioning, but also the display itself incorporates an original Sony flame-retardant recycled plastic called SORPLAS™ in the rear cover, triangular side panels, and bottom stage, which reduces the amount of virgin plastic used.

SORPLAS™ is made from used water bottles, scrap optical disc from the market and factories, and our proprietary flame retardant. This recycled plastic is now used for Sony products and by other manufacturers in a wide range of products.

Sony has gained much expertise over the course of using recycled plastic with the environment in mind but without compromising product appearance or performance. We will continue to introduce environmentally sound materials, making this another reason for creative professionals and users of all kinds to choose Sony products.

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