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This phone blooms into a flower

U.K. researchers and Motorola release cell phone cover that's biodegradable.

update Toss that old cell phone into the dirt and you may return a few weeks later to find a flower. Scientists say they have come up with a phone cover that will grow into a sunflower when thrown away.

Some 650 million mobile phones will be sold this year, and most will be thrown away within two years, burdening the environment with plastics, heavy metals and chemicals, scientists say.

Scientists say the environmentally friendly casings will ease strain on landfills now bulging from more than 100 million handsets discarded each year, according to co-developers the University of Warwick, biodegradable-plastics maker PVAXX Research & Development and No. 3 handset manufacturer Motorola.

"It's a totally biodegradable and non-toxic plastic," Pvaxx spokesman Peter Morris said of the material that makes up the phone case.

"This is the first product that we've made public. We're working with blue chip companies and will introduce several products next year," he said, adding it would be used in electronics, horticulture, ammunition and household cleaning.

Many consumers buy cheap and interchangeable plastic covers to personalize their phones.

Reuters contributed to this report.