Environmentally-Friendly Phone Accessories
Technology and sustainability were mutually exclusive terms for quite a while, but these days, we’re getting better about learning how to get the accessories we need for our phones without having to completely sacrifice our devotion to greener living. These cases, chargers, cables, and more are sustainably made, compostable, and/or made with renewable materials. Here are the most eco-friendly accessories you can buy for your smartphone today.
This wireless charger is covered in fabric made from recycled water bottles and hemp, can be used as a flat wireless charger or a stand, and comes in no-plastic packaging made of recycled scrap paper. There’s also an extra USB port for charging another device.
This simple phone stand is made of sustainable Walnut wood, with a drop-dead simple design and lightweight that should keep your phone stable as you vid-chat with friends and family or scroll through Twitter.
Kerf also makes phone cases, but this wireless charger is the one I’ve used with five different phones at my bedside every night. You can choose from 15 different kinds of wood, and best of all it uses USB-C so you don’t have to keep some old, deprecated micro-USB cable around for it!
Pela was one of the earliest options in the eco-case game, and it still offers the greatest selection of compostable cases for not only iPhones and Galaxy phones, but also Pixels and a couple of Huawei models.
Carved’s cases are made of wood and resin, creating one-of-a-kind cases that are sustainable, durable, beautiful, and biodegradable. These cases are only available for iPhones, Galaxys, and Pixels, but if you have one, man, are these cases cool.
Incipio is relatively new to the eco-friendly game, but I’m happy to report its Organicore cases are quite fetching and made of 100% compostable materials. The lighter colors are prone to staining, but the deep pine green is a beautiful shade, too.
Available in either Walnut or Black Ash, this organizer features a phone stand, a carved slot for an Apple Watch or Galaxy Watch Active charger, two grooves for charging cables, and places to rest your headphones, wallet, and pocket contents.
A Good Company is devoted to sustainable, waste-reducing products, and this cable comes with three endings — micro-USB, Lightning, and USB-C — so you can use it for just about anything life throws at you. The other end is USB-A for standard charging.
This 10,000mAh power bank could keep a single phone going for a long weekend of camping and hiking, and it’s made with plant-based plastics from corn and sugarcane so that they’re renewable sources. There’s also a magnetic cable organizer on the bottom.
Great for you, great for the planet
As a case fiend, I’m happy to see more options beyond the traditional Pela Cases for earth-friendly cases. For the most impactful purchase you could make for the planet, buy one of Nimble’s products like the Nimble Wireless Convertible Stand. Nimble’s products are made of recycled and sustainable materials when possible, they’re durable yet elegant-looking, and best of all, each time you purchase from Nimble, it sends you a pre-paid return envelope that you can fill with old electronics. Then, they can be sent to Nimble’s recycling partner and be safely converted into something else instead of ending up in a landfill — or the black hole known as your “tech drawer.”
Nimble also has a case recycling program so you can properly dispose of your old case once your new earth-friendly one like the Carved Wood+Resin Case comes in. I like Carved because the unique live edge wood and custom-blended resin make each case wonderful and unique.
Other ways to be eco-friendly with your tech purchases
This is going to sound counter-productive, but if you can’t find an eco-friendly solution for all of your tech means, all is not lost. It simply means that you need to follow three other guiding principles when shopping for technology:
- Don’t buy something new until the old one breaks. Do you want to reduce e-waste? Don’t buy tech you don’t need. I have a 20-by-20-by-8-inch drawer full of cables that I’ve acquired over the last 15 years, and I open that drawer maybe four times a year. If you already have a cable and it works don’t buy a new one! This goes double for anything that needs to hold a charge, like Bluetooth headphones and power banks. These devices don’t like to be relegated to a shelf and left to rot, as their batteries will lose their charging capacity over time if left unused with a full battery.
- Don’t buy anything that uses micro-USB ever again. USB-C will last longer and will allow you to charge much more of your tech with one cable. Fewer cables mean fewer chargers and fewer things that need to be bought or thrown out. If it uses micro-USB or mini-USB, just put it down and walk away.
- Buy something that will last. As mentioned earlier, my Kerf Wireless Charging Block has lasted me a long time, longer than any other charger in my apartment. I have an AUKEY mechanical keyboard that’s going on four years, and my favorite Bluetooth headphones have lasted me two years and counting. If you buy something durable and dependable, you should be able to avoid having to replace it for as long as possible, limiting the e-waste you produce as well as saving you money.
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