Looking to find an eco-friendly phone case for your mobile? You’re in the right place.
Here we take a look at what eco-friendly and biodegradable cases actually are and made from, before listing out some of best sustainable phone cases available in the UK.
It’s an important area, so I’m glad you’re here reading about this topic. In the UK, there are 53.5 million smartphone users! Around 87% of adults own a smartphone and many of those want to keep it protected. Compound this up across the world and we’ve got a big problem.
The go-to phone case protection is almost always from plastic. With people regularly upgrading you can just imagine the redundant plastic cases piling up. It doesn’t have to be the case of course, should you opt for an eco-friendly phone cover.
Please note, this post does contain some affiliate links, however you can rest assure that the information given is honest and factual. Header image courtesy of Wave Case.
What makes an eco friendly phone case?
The negative element to most phone cases is that they are made from plastic. This is usually a form of polyurethane or polycarbonate. Sometimes it’s possible for cases to be made from silicone and other materials.
The common factor for all of these usual materials is that they are not especially eco friendly or good for the environment. Whether it’s the collection of raw materials, manufacturing process or how they are treated at the end of their lifecycle, any type of plastic phone case will have a negative impact on the environment.
To buy an eco friendly phone case you will need to look out for a few things. As there may be manufacturers trying to mislead you by ‘greenwashing’ an not so eco friendly product, it’s important that all these areas are covered if you are to buy a fully sustainable phone case.
- What materials is the case made from? Natural materials are best as these are more likely to be sustainable and biodegradable. Recycled materials, even recycled plastic, are great too as this means a waste product has been reused. Avoid any type of virgin plastic.
- Have any additional materials been used? – Materials such as glues and those used to create liners
- Does the phone case perform well? – The case has to work well and protect your phone, but it also has to look good to some extent. I tend to go for simplicity, but my recent phone case from Wave has a simple but brilliant design.
- What to do during disposal? The most eco friendly phone cases will be fully compostable. Second to this is biodegradable and recyclable.
Many eco-friendly phone cases are now made from a type of plant-based plastic, also known as bioplastic. Commonly, these include PLA and PBAT. Sometimes they may include synthetic chemicals, which have been made biodegradable. You can read more on if bioplastics are good for the environment here.
What does a biodegradable phone case mean?
Contrary to popular belief, a biodegradable phone case will not start to biodegrade whilst you are holding it!
A biodegradable phone case means it has been made from natural, plant-based materials that will break down into their smaller elements in the right conditions. These specific conditions include the right heat, oxygen and microorganism content, but there is no time limit on this.
If a product is fully compostable then a material should degrade into its natural parts, releasing no toxic or harmful chemicals within 6 months.
It may be possible for you to send an old biodegradable or compostable phone cover to the industrial composter, but you should check with the manufacturer first.
5 Best Sustainable Phone Cases
1. Wave Case
Wave are a sustainability-first company located up in the North East of England who are striving to produce product alternatives that have a minimal impact on the environment. They produce a range of terrific looking biodegradable iPhone and Samsung phone cases.
The Wave phone cases are 100% British-made, created using materials derived from wheat straw – wheat straw is a renewable by-product from the wheat harvest and provides a sustainable alternative to some solid plastics, such as the ones used in phone cases. The result is a 100% biodegradable phone case, which looks fantastic. When you’re finished with the case you can either send it to an industrial composter via your local recycling or send it back to Wave.
Wave offer free delivery with all orders which are shipped in plastic-free, recycled cardboard packaging. You can also buy biodegradable AirPod cases, water bottles, vegan card holders and roll top eco-friendly backpacks.
Pela are perhaps the original company producing sustainable and compostable cases for phones and iPads. They are based in North America and have two main manufacturing operations coming out of Canada and China.
All their products are plant-based and mainly made from flax straw and a compostable bioplastic. Pela try to use renewable energy where possible to power their manufacturing process.
Uunique are a London-based company who produce biodegradable and compostable smartphone cases.
They use plastic-free and plant-based materials to create their cases and have a range of colours, styles and patterns. Orders are sent out in eco-friendly bubble wrap, cardboard box or an eco-friendly pouch.
Reboxed offer consumers a more sustainable way to sell, swap and shop different tech devices. They’re all about reducing and reusing electronic waste – you can read more about the importance of recycling e-waste here.
As well as selling a range of refurbished phones, iPads, Apple Watches and more, Reboxed also sell eco friendly phone cases. Their phone cases are made from reclaimed wheat fibres and plant-based bioplastics, resulting in a strong, durable and 100% compostable phone case.
This is a bit of a wildcard entry to the list, but cork phone cases are highly sustainable and biodegradable! In fact, cork is one of my favourite eco-friendly materials as trees don’t have to be cut down to be harvested and will grow for decades and decades – you can have a read of my why cork is sustainable blog here.
To be biodegradable, make sure the cork phone case doesn’t contain any type of synthetic liner. It shouldn’t do as cork is a water-resistant material with great shock absorbing qualities.
There are plenty of cork phone cases available on the Etsy marketplace from sole traders. You can take a look here.
And these are my top eco-friendly phone cases. Switching to a biodegradable phone case is a small, simple and easily achievable change.
If everyone with a smartphone (which a lot of people in the world) switched to a biodegradable phone case, we’d reduce an enormous amount of plastic waste.
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Ben is the Creator and Editor of Tiny Eco Home Life. I write and publish information about more sustainable, environmentally friendly living in and around the home.
Alongside this website, I love spending time in the natural world, living a simple life and spending time with my young family (Murphy the dog!) I round up my thoughts and recent blogs on the Eco Life Newsletter.