The fast nature of technology isn't always good for the environment. It makes it all too tempting to discard technology and move onto the next big thing, while gradually using up the Earth's resources without even meaning to.
While no one wants to stop upgrading to new gadgets, you can make some concessions in the form of buying an eco-friendly phone case. It's the ideal solution if you're trying to move towards a zero-waste lifestyle or you want to cut back on your plastic usage.
These cases are typically made from sustainable or recycled materials so that they protect your phone without damaging the environment. After all, phone cases are often treated as disposable items that you're likely to switch between on a regular basis.
What better than to have a case that protects your phone and the world all at once? It's the ideal way to cut back on your plastic usage without missing out on anything. Many eco-friendly phone cases look great too.
We've taken a look at some of the biggest brands in eco-friendly phone cases, focusing on those that are biodegradable and made from materials that are either sustainable or previously recycled. They all protect your phone as efficiently as most plastic cases too because it's important that your phone is kept safe, along with the environment we live amongst.
- Want an eco-friendly phone? Try our Fairphone 3 review
Plant-based cases that also raise money for charity
Want a stylish case that also does a lot of great things for the world? You can't really go wrong with Pela's ethos. All of its cases are plant-based and compostable with a huge selection available encompassing all iPhones (right back to the iPhone 5) and a vast array of Android phones too.
Even better, if you like your cases to match, you can buy AirPods cases and Apple Watch wrist bands that match the look of your phone case while also still being made from 100% compostable materials. The cases look great and they perform well in drop tests.
Pela gets even better ethically when it comes to charitable contributions. 5% of its total sales go to environmental charities in a bid to further improve the planet. The cases look gorgeous too so you won't feel like you're being shortchanged with your choice.
- The full selection of Pela phone cases (opens in new tab)
Inexpensive cases for eco-conscious people on a budget
Wave doesn't offer the most extensive range of cases out there. It predominantly focuses on iPhone cases (opens in new tab) and a few Samsung smartphones, however they're fantastic value for what they are. A slip-on case rather than a wraparound solution, they're typically significantly cheaper than a lot of other eco-friendly cases while still being made entirely from biodegradable produce.
Wave cases are made from wheat straw and even their shipping material is made from recycled cardboard so there's no waste here. A matte finish ensures you can grip onto the case safely without worrying about slippage. Your options might be a little more limited here with only a handful of color schemes to choose from, but you can't beat it in terms of value, working out on slightly pricier than a plastic solution.
- The full selection of Wave phone cases (opens in new tab)
Stylish cases (with handles) made from fishing nets
We all know that fishing nets are horrifically destructive to the environment with abandoned nets often causing havoc for defenceless birds. Popsicase considered this and decided to turn nets into phone cases, combining them with scrap aluminium to form stylish and unique looking phone cases.
The cases are available in plain colors but it's the quirkier, nature-focused looks that are our favorites. Customers also get the choice of having a handle or not on the back of their case which is ideal for those with mobility issues or if you're simply in need of an extra grip.
Cases are exclusively available for iPhones so Android users will miss out here. For iPhone fans though, they're well priced with a donation also made to the NGO Good Planet to further help the world, along with compensations made for CO2 emissions relating to the shipping of the item. For something a little different, Popsicase hit the spot just right when it comes to style.
- The full selection of Popsicase phone cases (opens in new tab)
A choice of different materials each with a unique scent
Rather than using simply one type of compostable material to create a case, MMORE cases offers plenty of different options, accounting for every taste. It's possible to order cases that offer a covering made from hemp, hay, jasmine, and even coffee, giving you a subtle scent of each of these materials while you use the phone.
With all the cases, they're made from organic and sustainable material, proving 100% recyclable, so whatever you choose, you know you're doing your bit for the environment.
The quirky part is the ability to choose an aroma that suits your tastes. If you're not too fussed about a nice scent, you can always opt for a classy looking wooden solution that is still recyclable with a tree planted to replace each one used. Personalized solutions are also available if you're looking for a unique gift idea.
- The full selection of MMORE phone cases (opens in new tab)
Eco-friendly cases for all the latest phones
While many retailers focus on iPhones when it comes to eco-conscious cases, Uunique hasn't forgotten about Samsung owners. It might not cater for other Android smartphones, but if you're looking for a great solution for your shiny new Samsung Galaxy S20, you can't go wrong here. A wide variety of different cases are available from the subtle to the 'I want to make a statement' choice of printed pink floral.
Fortunately, whichever you pick, the case is guaranteed to be eco-friendly. Each of Uunique's cases are plastic-free and made with plant-based elements. They still maintain shock proofing, and they'll happily work with your Qi wireless charger, all while you're safe in the knowledge that you're helping the environment. 1% of purchases go towards global eco-charities too. Just make sure not to get lured away by the company's non-eco-friendly case collection.
- The full selection of Uunique phone cases (opens in new tab)
Compostable and customizable phone cases
Casteify is a well-known name in the phone case market as well as providing other phone and smartwatch accessories, and even UV sanitizers. It's keen to stress with its new range of compostable cases that you still enjoy military-grade level of protection thanks to the use of bamboo-based materials and corn starch. The company also vows that it'll plant one tree for each compostable and biodegradable case it sells as part of a partnership with Earth Day Network's Canopy Project.
The cases themselves lack quirky patterns but instead, you're able to customize the case, adding whatever text you want to make the case yours. Casteify believes it's the only biodegradable case company to currently offer this service and it's a particularly attractive move if you're looking for a fun gift idea. Eco-friendly packaging rounds off the environmentally friendly gift idea quite well. Bear in mind this is an iPhone only option again though.
- The full selection of Casetify phone cases (opens in new tab)
Sustainable yet protective too
Made from sustainable materials, the Survivor All-Terrain Earth is also surprisingly robust. It offers 4 layers of protection comprised of both soft and hard sustainable bio-resins so you get a lightweight design but plenty of durability. Plus, there's the all-important factor of knowing that your case choice isn't damaging the environment.
With 20 feet of drop protection, a raised edge bezel for the screen and camera, plus antimicrobial defenses, there are a lot of reasons to like this case series. Just bear in mind that color schemes can be a little earthy, understandably so.
- The full selection of Survivor Earth phone cases (opens in new tab)
Highly sustainable and delightful looking
Offering iPhone cases back to the iPhone 6 range, Atom Studios offers some highly sustainable solutions. Cases use a mixture of material including either soft touch silicone or split wood fibre.
Whatever you choose, premium eco materials are used with the split wood fibre sustainably sourced and mixed with recycled wood, while the silicone is sand based rather than made from crude oil. In both cases, strengthened aluminum and a 1mm raised edge keeps your phone safe while good for the environment.
For each case sold, Atom Studios also plants a tree in its honour. Cases are available in some stylish yet understated colors so they'll blend into your lifestyle well.
- The full selection of Atom Studios phone cases. (opens in new tab)
LifeProof Wake Series
Ocean friendly and simple to use
Made from 85% ocean-based recycled plastic such as salvaged fishing gear, the LifeProof Wake series of cases is available in four colors, each offering a sleek wave pattern. While not able to handle a huge drop, it can still withstand up to 2 meters which should be good for most daily purposes.
The sculpted wave pattern looks quite stylish with a snug fit that wraps around your iPhone fairly well. Being fairly well priced makes it all the more endearing plus LifeProof donates a dollar to one of its water-conscious nonprofit partners too.
- The full selection of LifeProof Wake phone cases (opens in new tab)
Cute designs with an ecological message
Wildcase focuses on iPhones and the Samsung Galaxy S20 range. It doesn't cater for the latest models of either but it does have some very cute designs if you have an older phone. Each case is made from a 100% biodegradable bioplastic and bamboo fiber mix so it's about as eco-friendly as it can get.
The cases are also drop tested for up to five feet and offer a raised rim design to keep your screen safe. While that means these aren't rugged cases, they're scratch resistant and safe for daily use. Each case has a fun and vibrant design too so if you're looking for something eye catching yet good for everyone, this is it.
The company also offers personalized cases so you can have one with your name or quote written on the back too.
- The full selection of Wildcase cases (opens in new tab)