I first heard about Pela’s compostable, biodegradable, non-plastic, non-toxic phone cases from my friend Kathryn Kellogg over at Going Zero Waste, and I didn’t waste anytime ordering one. (I have an iPhone, but Pela makes phones for Google and Samsung phones, as well.)
For me, choosing ecologically friendly, animal-friendly products is always top of mind when I’m making purchases, but I also want them to do the job they’re designed for.
I’ve had the Pela case for more than two years now and can attest to its efficacy — it has absolutely protected my phone, which I’ve dropped MANY times and use constantly each and every day. But a little more than two years in, it’s time for another, as the wear and tear is beyond cosmetic.
Zero waste is about making choices based on responsibility and value, and while two years doesn’t seem like a terribly long time to own a phone case, there are a few other things to consider:
- I’ve had other phone cases made of plastic that lasted about as long (or less).
- Other (plastic) phone cases I’ve had didn’t actually protect my phone, so worse than having to replace the case, I’ve had to replace my phone (several times). Maybe I’m just a klutz, but still.
- When I was done with previous phone cases, I couldn’t compost them!
- The manufacturing needs to be considered in addition to the discard options, and Pela cases have 25% less carbon emissions, 35% less water usage, and 70% less waste production than conventional plastic smartphone cases.
- Pela cases are free of lead, cadmium, BPA and phthalates. They are made of a proprietary blend of Terratek Flex and Canadian Prairie flax shive.
So, in all ways, they come out on top, and two years later, I’m ready to compost my case.
While we are lucky to have a municipal / industrial compost system in our city of Oakland, CA, I’m going to add my old case to one of my backyard compost bins to see how long it will take for it to break down. According to Pela, it could take between 6 months and 2 years, so I’ll report back!
Two years after my initial purchase, Pela has increased their line in terms of colors, and some also have designs created by artists Pela commissions to beautify their products. They also have other biodegradable accessories, including phone grips, which perhaps I should buy considering how often I drop my phone. Again…klutz.
Pela is offering a special right now that gives you two cases for the price of one — the intention being that people need to wash their cases more than ever to avoid spreading Covid-19. I took advantage of this offer and picked two pretty cases, which arrived in compostable non-plastic packaging!
As with being vegan, aspiring to zero waste isn’t about being perfect; it’s about doing the best we can. It’s also not about buying more stuff — including everything marketed as “zero waste,” but when it comes to prolonging the life of necessities — and yes, my phone is a work and life necessity right now — then I’m grateful for companies like Pela who is providing an option that is ethical for human and non-humans alike.