We have certainly come a long way in the quest to avoid plastic bags, straws, and cups — but one company is hoping to change the conversation around phone cases.
Though our phone cases get used way more than single-use plastic straws, we still throw them away each time we get a new phone or a cute new style crops up.
Most phone cases are made of plastic — a material derived from crude oil.
When a new phone model gets released, phone cases from older models rarely fit. And because phone cases can’t be recycled or repurposed, we’re forced to toss them.
When discarded, these billions of little phone cases pollute our environment and end up creating giant problems, like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
These plastics continue to break down and release invasive microplastics into the world as they float through our oceans.
But plastic cases are not our only option for protecting our phones and other devices.
In 2011, the world’s first fully compostable phone cases — created by Pela — hit the market and turned over a new leaf for phone accessories.
The term compostable indicates a material that can fully break down into non-toxic, natural materials. It also means the material breaks down at the same rate as the plant compound cellulose naturally decomposes.
Certain plastics made from natural materials — called bioplastics — can be compostable. These plastics do not leave any toxic materials behind after they’ve decomposed.
Compostable cases are typically made from bioplastics and other plant-derived materials like bamboo, cereals, corn, flax, sugarcane, and more. Although they’re derived from plants, these cases are designed to be as protective as traditional plastic phone cases.
When it comes to lessening how much plastic we leave to pollute the land, air, and water on which we rely, compostable phone cases are an affordable, cute, and achievable alternative to petroleum-based plastic.