Phone Cases and Pollution: The Effects and Solutions

Mobile phones.

They’ve become an everyday essential in modern life. They’ve become more than just a way to contact your friends and family. They’re our alarm clock, music player, camera and internet browser all in one package. And more importantly, in regards to the variety of phone cases you can choose from, they’ve also become a statement fashion accessory.

But when it comes to phone cases, have we forgotten what the sole purpose of a cover should be?

Initially, cases were designed to protect your smartphone. We all know that the latest tech isn’t cheap and so a case is vital to ensure they are kept from getting damaged or scratched.

However, it can be argued that companies have used this as an opportunity to grow a multi-million pound business by creating the most extravagant cases – and at the expensive of the environment. From glitzy embellished ones to catwalk-ready designer cases, it’s a plastic catastrophe that has gone viral…without us even (maybe) realising.

In this article, we’ll be digging deeper into this fashion trend and will be exploring how phone cases effect the environment, along with giving you some sustainable alternatives so you can still protect your phone…and the planet.

The rise of the phone case

Billions of phone cases are sold every year, and with the average phone contract lasting around two years, it means we each go through a lot in our lifetime.

The history of mobile phone cases can be traced back quite far. From the retro Nokia 3310 to the new iPhone 12, there has always been a phone case for every model. They come in all sorts of materials, including silicone, leather and plastic, with many covered in an assortment of embellishments for added bling or with a flip cover for added protection.

As time has gone on, the phone case has become one of the biggest fashion accessories that we feel we need to have. Rather than buying one to protect your phone, we’re buying them to make our phones look good.

But what happens when it’s time to upgrade to a new phone?

When our contract is up, we upgrade to the latest model, even if the old one still works, which means one thing… new phone, new case, and your old one is sent straight to landfill!

Most of us probably don’t think that something as small as a phone case can impact the planet, but the phone case revolution is increasing the amount of pollution our world is suffering from, causing detrimental harm that we need to try and stop.

What harm do phone cases cause?

If, hypothetically, we all had a phone from the age of 16 and bought a new phone case every time we upgraded until we were 70, we would go through approximately 27 phone cases each. When you think about how many of us populate the Earth, that’s a lot of phone cases being sent to landfill.

Plastic phone cases

I’m sure you’re already aware of the impact plastic has on our planet. It takes years for plastic to decompose, with plastic bottles taking around 450 years and plastic bags ranging between 10-1000 years! Through the decomposing process, toxic chemicals are released into the soil, seeping into other elements and the ecosystem, causing detrimental effects.

Leather phone cases

The production of leather has raised many issues regarding sustainability, including the dying process, which sees harmful chemicals being used. Many brands also use faux leather, which can take up to 500 years to biodegrade.

Silicone phone cases

While silicone is great for protecting your phone because of its durability, it’s this very factor that makes it an environmental issue. The material is so durable that it does not biodegrade easily and can take between 50-500 years to decompose.

But it isn’t just the disposal of phone cases that is damaging the environment. The production of phone cases in large factories contributes massively to the pollution in the air, highlighting how the phone case manufacturing process is just as detrimental to the environment as the cases themselves. However, there are things we can do to prevent it.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the sustainable alternatives you can try.

What can we do?

There are numerous ways to prevent phone case pollution. Shopping from a sustainable brand and reselling or donating your old products will ensure one less phone is being sent to landfill.

Choose a sustainable phone case

One alternative is choosing an eco-friendly phone case that won’t harm the planet. More and more brands are finding sustainable alternatives for smartphones, while still designing stylish cases to keep you on trend.

At Wave, our biodegradable phone cases not only protect your phone, they protect the planet, too! Made from wheat straw, our Wave Cases are 100% biodegradable and are a great sustainable alternative. We stock a fantastic range of colour options and cater to a range of smartphone models to ensure you can find the right one to suit you.

Our aim is to encourage the change we want to see in the world, one biodegradable phone case at a time. We provide eco-friendly alternatives that have minimal impact on the planet. And the best bit? It’s all at an affordable price.

Sell or donate

Another way to reduce pollution from phone cases is to use your phone more. When our contract is up, it doesn’t mean we have to give up the phone and the case. If they’re both in good working order, should we really get a new one just for the sake of it? We could keep using it or we could sell it on to prevent it being sent to landfill unnecessarily.

You can also donate your used phone cases to your local charity shop, which not only saves more plastic being sent to landfill, but helps to support some really great causes in the process.

Want to learn more?

The phone case revolution is another area of our lives that causes damage to our planet. But by making small changes such as switching to an eco-friendly phone case, you’ll be contributing to making a difference… a difference for the better.

For more information on sustainable phone cases check out our range of Wave Cases, alongside some other amazing ethical brands at