Did you know that in 2021 over 4.88 billion people have mobile phones?
That translates to an incredible 61.85% of the world’s population and is an increase of over 50% in just the five years since 2016.
As the population grows and the percentage grows, the problem of waste grows.
Phones are built with obsolescence in mind and the average time from purchase to upgrade is around two years!
We have already talked about sustainable ways to upgrade your phone, but what happens to the case you buy to protect your investment?
It’s only one case – surely that can’t have a big impact?
Well, let’s do the maths (maths and sustainability – oh the joy).
If we work on the current situation, which by the way is only going in one direction, there are 4.88 billion phone users.
According to Statista, 79 per cent of these phone users have a protective case, which means 3.86 billion cases are being used at any one time.
With the average time a person keeps a phone being two years and the average life expectancy being 72, people can expect to change their phones around 29 times in their lives.
This means even if you only change your phone case when you change your phone, and let’s face it, most people change them more than that, you will throw away 29 phone cases in your lifetime.
Whilst you are alive we estimate 112 billion phone cases (give or take a few) will be disposed of.
From a sustainability point of view, this is awful as every single case comes with an environmental impact.
From manufacturing to packaging, from marketing to distribution all these things have an impact on the planet increasing your CO2 footprint and draining limited resources.
Water and gases from factories have an impact on the immediate surroundings during the manufacturing process of all synthetic products.
Silicone covers leach toxic waste into bodies of water, killing fish and microorganisms.
This destabilises the area’s delicate food chain and can bring the entire ecosystem to a halt.
Furthermore, silicon particles cause lung disease, including cancer, in humans and have an impact on plant growth.
What’s worse is the fact that most cases are made from non-sustainable materials such as plastic and leather and if all that wasn’t enough, the majority of phone cases cannot be recycled and end up in landfill.
Unfortunately, each time we pile waste in landfill, the surrounding environment loses its sustainability.
Plastic in cases take up to 1000 years to break down and the microplastics it breaks down into damage the entire ecosystem.
Aside from the production impact of leather cases, many of the ‘faux’ leather cases on sale can take up to 500 years to break down, whilst silicone can also take up to 500 years.
Who would have thought that the case you bought to protect your new phone would come at such a cost?
So, what can you do as the eco-conscious lovely person that you are to lower your personal impact when it comes to your mobile phone case?
A simple and potentially profitable way is to resell your old case – there are plenty of online sites where you can make some money back and lengthen the useful life of your case and saving it from landfill.
Alternatively, you could donate the case to a charity shop so that they can benefit from the resale value of the case, whilst you still lengthen its useful life.
As we move to a circular economy, second hand or preloved products are going to become widely available and there is definitely a gap in the market for selling preloved cases.
If there are any budding eco-entrepreneurs out there – you can have that idea on us!
Talking about eco-entrepreneurs, another solution to the problem of cases and this week’s tip is to invest in a sustainable case!
Several new companies are making sustainable cases, they make phones from sustainable products and are super aware of their packaging and supply chain.
One of Play It Green’s favourite companies is Wave.
They aim to provide you with eco-friendly alternatives that have minimal impact on the planet.
Wave’s very first product, the Wave Case, was designed as a stylish yet biodegradable phone case made from sustainably sourced wheat straw.
Now not only do Wave make a range of biodegradable phone cases but they now make eco-friendly accessories.
Don’t just take our word for it, they’re rated Excellent on Trustpilot!
To help you take your next step to a more sustainable future, the awesome team at Wave has given Play It Green members an exclusive 10% discount on their entire range.
Simply head over to their shop and use code PLAYITGREEN10 at checkout!
Join Play It Green for the cost of a coffee each month and we will help you to:
REPAIR the planet through reforestation, REDUCE your footprint with weekly tips and sustainable discounts and REGIVE 10% to a good cause, of your choice.