Best Environmentally-Friendly Phone Accessories Android Central 2021
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 the best Android phones without having to completely sacrifice our devotion to greener living. These cases, chargers, and accessories are sustainably made, compostable, and/or made with renewable materials. Here are the most environmentally-friendly phone accessories you can buy for your smartphone this Earth Day.
- Think inside the box: OtterBox Symmetry Case for Galaxy S21
- Sustainable grip: PopSockets PopGrip Earth
- Compostable and charitable: Pela Eco-Friendly Phone Cases for Pixel 5
- Plant-based protection: Incipio Organicore Cases for Galaxy S21
- Recycled leather: Nomad Wireless Charging Base Station Hub Edition
- Keep our oceans clean: Lifeproof Wake
Think inside the box: OtterBox Symmetry Case for Galaxy S21
OtterBox starting adding recycled materials to its cases in 2020, and while most series are 30-50% recycled, the Symmetry is a whopping 60% recycled plastics, meaning that you don't have to sacrifice quality or protection just to get an eco-friendly product. OtterBox cases are available for most Samsung, Pixel, and OnePlus phones.
Sustainable grip: PopSockets PopGrip Earth
PopSockets are fun plastic grips, but plastic isn't usually an eco-friendly material long term. That's why the team at PopSockets is debuting PopGrip Earth, a series of PopSockets that are made with sustainable materials like corn starch, canola oil, and castor beans. There are only two colors for now, but I look forward to when all PopGrips are planet-friendly.
Compostable and charitable: Pela Eco-Friendly Phone Cases for Pixel 5
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. There are several lines of Pela cases these days including artist series and charity series for conservation.
Plant-based protection: Incipio Organicore Cases for Galaxy S21
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, plant-based materials. Organicore is available for iPhones and the Galaxy S20 and S21 series. I'm hopeful it'll make its way to Pixels and other phones, soon, as well as giving us more color options like iPhones get.
Recycled leather: Nomad Wireless Charging Base Station Hub Edition
I did not know leather was recyclable, but I'm happy it is because it means that you can get a premium-looking, high-quality charging pad capable of charging 4 phones at once with two on the pad and two plugged into the USB-C and USB-A ports. Being able to toss down two phones or a phone and your wireless earbuds is wonderful.
Keep our oceans clean: Lifeproof Wake
Lifeproof's pretty proud of all its overprice, overhyped sports cases, but the praise is deserved for the Wake. This case is made of over 85% recycled ocean-based plastics, comes in some nice cool colorways, and is available for iPhones, Samsung phones including the new Galaxy A52, and the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G.
Great for you, great for the planet
As a case fiend, I'm happy to see more environmentally friendly phone accessories beyond the traditional Pela Cases. OtterBox, Incipio, and Lifeproof are just a handful of the companies joining the sustainable accessory game: Tech21 has series of Eco-friendly cases — but they're mostly limited to iPhones right now. Woodworking accessory makers like Carved and Kerf also crank out one-of-a-kind cases and even wireless chargers; I've had a Kerf wireless charger on my nightstand for years and I adore it.
Finding sustainable chargers and cables is more difficult, and honestly, for cables, I'd just as soon you buy the most durable, long-lasting USB-C cable you can and take good care of it rather than try to find an inferior cable that uses recycled materials. The Nomad Wireless Charger uses some recycled materials for the exterior, but everything inside is shiny, new, and should last you years, which is the most important part of buying eco-friendly today: buy something that won't end up in a landfill in a year or two, buy something worthwhile that will go the distance.
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, use your current one until it breaks, then buy one that uses USB-C instead.
- 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. My favorite Bluetooth headphones have lasted me three years and counting. If you buy something durable and dependable, you can 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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