NEC's plastic fantastic eco-mob

Doesn't it just make you go all soft and gooey inside when big multinationals play the green card? Now that heads of government have finally agreed a

Doesn't it just make you go all soft and gooey inside when big multinationals play the green card? Now that heads of government have finally agreed a new greenhouse gas treaty, NEC is doing its bit by launching the biodegradable mobile.

The N701i, due for release in Japan, is the first real world phone to get the Good Life treatment. It's made from 70% biodegradable plastic. Instead of coming from nasty seal-fur-clogging petrochemicals, it's derived from vegan-friendly potatoes and corn.

The potatoes and corn provide useful poly-lactic acids. Add to NEC's not-so-secret ingredient, kenaf – a relative of Grandma favourite, the hibiscus – and you get the N701i's shiny new casing.

Biodegradable phones could be just the ticket for solving the UK's growing mountain of knackered old handsets. The manufacturing process even has the double bonus of producing fewer ozone-destroying greenhouse gases than the production of standard plastics. NEC win extra green points since kenaf is superb at soaking up CO2.

There's no word yet on a UK version of the veg phone, but given the fact NEC is now going big on O2 i-mode phones, we wouldn't be surprised to see it cropping up in our stores in 2006.