Technology and sustainability were mutually exclusive terms for quite a while, but these days, it's much easier to combine green living with the best Android phones. 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 today.
Go green with these eco-friendly phone accessories
For you, for the planet
Founded by three former Mophie employees, Nimble knows how to make great chargers and cables while reducing the e-waste rampant within the smartphone accessory industry. Made from certified recycled plastic and aluminum, this USB-C cable should last you years and comes with a bag for you to ship old tech to Nibmle for free recycling.
Think inside the box
OtterBox started 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.
PopSockets are fun plastic grips, but plastic isn't usually an eco-friendly material long-term. That's why the team at PopSockets debuted PopGrip Plant, a series of PopSockets made with 35% plant-based materials. There are four transparent colors you can choose from, or you can make a custom PopGrip Plant with your own photo.
Compostable and charitable
Pela was one of the earliest options in the eco-case game. It still offers the greatest selection of compostable cases for not only iPhones and Galaxy phones, but also Pixels, Galaxy devices, OnePlus phones, and a couple of Huawei models. There are several types of Pela cases these days, including monochrome options, patterned numbers, and clear covers.
One of a kind
This 15W wireless charging pad supports both iPhone, Pixel, and Samsung fast wireless charging, and because the silicone used on the top is recycled, no two APOLLO wireless chargers look the same. Nimble includes a 20W wall charger in the box so that you won't have to scramble to find a compatible charger, and like the cable, you get a recycled bag to ship e-waste out for recycling.
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, S21, and S22 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.
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 four 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's pretty proud of all its overpriced, overhyped sports cases, but the praise is deserved for the Wake. This case is made of over 85% recycled ocean-based plastics and comes in some nice cool colorways. The Wake Series is available for iPhones, the Samsung Galaxy S21 and S22 series, and the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G.
Fun-loving and different
CASETiFY offers a variety of bright, fun-loving cases that really pop. Not only are they bursting with personality, but most CASETiFY cases are made of recycled and bio-degradable ingredients. You can grab CASETiFY covers for popular Pixels, iPhones, Galaxy devices, and more.
In addition to eco-friendly phone covers, Pela also makes sustainable phone grips. They are affordable and come in nine different shades. Apart from adding grip to your phone, you can also use the Pela Grip as a makeshift kickstand in a pinch.
The housing for this beautiful Kerf Wireless Charging Block is made of 100% natural wood. It comes in 15 different wood species and you can customize it based on your likes. It supports a 10W wireless charging speed and you get QC 2.0 and 3.0 Fast Charging compatibility.
Sustainable phone cases are easier to come by, but have you ever seen eco-friendly wireless earbuds? The House of Marley Champion True Wireless Earbuds are made of natural components and shipped in recyclable packaging. You get touch controls, USB-C fast charging, and a battery life of 28 hours including the case.
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 several series of Eco-friendly cases for the best Android phones from Samsung, Google, OnePlus, and more. 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. 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 will 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 full cells.
- 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 over-ear Bluetooth headphones have lasted me five 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.
Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.
- Namerah Saud FatmiContributing Writer