It’s no secret that our phones are full of metals and components that are toxic both to the planet and to workers. Some of the components of phones and other electronics can be recycled, but the process is difficult and hazardous. In addition to the obvious reasons like the hefty price tag for replacing it, these are good reasons to make sure you can keep your phone around for as long as possible.
My phone dates to last year, but when I see someone with an iPhone 5, I feel a frisson of recognition, and respect. I’m hoping that, three years hence, I’ll be that person too: the one with the outdated - but still perfectly functioning - phone model.
My phone is currently protected by the plastic case I bought when I first purchased my phone. The clear plastic is yellowing in places and peeling away in others, and I know eventually the case will have to end up in the landfill, like so many others. My partner, on the other hand, has been without a phone case for the past several months after his first case became unusable, and his phone has suffered for it. (For example: all photos taken with it must now be selfies, as the camera on the back chipped during a fall).
Clearly, neither of these - the plastic case or going without - is a good option for those of us who want to both extend the lives of our phones and minimize our plastic footprint. So I was delighted when Pela Case reached out to offer us one of their compostable phone cases. I promptly turned it over to my case-less partner, whose phone is now more than amply protected with a new black case.
The phone cases are made of a starch-based biopolymer and “waste” flax straw, which means they’re compostable, even in backyard settings. (More on that here). Better yet, Pela also accepts their old cases back for recycling into new ones.
Pela Cases are also matte, not shiny, which makes them easier to grip and, in our experience, harder to drop. Though I’m still using my older - and perfectly serviceable - plastic phone case from another company, I’m jealous of my partner’s new case, and when mine finally bites the dust, will upgrade to a Pela of my own.
They also offer phone cases for most new and old smartphones, so if you’ve been having trouble finding a case for your older model, they most likely have an option for you. (Here’s their full list of current cases available, under the “Shop” tab up top).