Photo/IllutrationThe new material developed by Panasonic Corp. is white, allowing products to be dyed any color. (Provided by Panasonic Corp.)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Panasonic Corp. is breaking away from plastic as part of a global trend to reduce use of the material that has caused widespread ocean pollution.

The Japanese electronics giant announced July 8 that it will shift from plastic to a new resin made from plant-based fibers for the production of its products.

The material consists of more than 55 percent cellulose fiber, the highest in the industry.

The resin, which is also white, allowing it to be dyed any color, is stronger than conventional plastic and will be used to make home electrical appliances within a few years.

The company's steps to reduce use of petroleum-based plastic will be made not only for such products as refrigerators and vacuum cleaners, but also building materials and automobile parts.

While the new resin material is more expensive to make than plastic, Panasonic aims to lower the cost through expanding production by urging other companies to use it.

The company will also encourage eating utensil makers to switch from plastic to the new resin material, it said.

A global trend to reduce the use of petroleum-based plastic has gained traction in recent years, owing to associated environmental problems, including marine contamination mainly due to discarded plastic products.

In Japan, hospitality and food-related establishments, including restaurants, have been increasingly eliminating the use of plastic straws and food utensils, while retailers have been moving away from plastic toward paper bags.