Casio has launched two more sports watches made from beans, and I'm all for it

Casio Pro Trek PRW-6611Y-1 and PRW-6621Y-1
(Image credit: Casio / Zulashai / Shutterstock)

Casio has released a pair of new sports watches made using biomass plastics, which are created using materials like castor beans and corn. As Casio fan blog G-Central explains, the case, strap, and case back cover of the Pro Trek PRW-6611Y-1 and PRW-6621Y-1 are all made using this material rather than conventional petroleum-based plastics.

This isn't the first time Casio has traded petroleum-based plastics for something a little greener. In February this year, the company launched the PRW-61, a solar-powered sports watch featuring the same materials, and packaged entirely in paper. It's a move that makes a lot of sense, and is one of the most sensible uses of bioplastics I've seen.

You've probably encountered bioplastics before, in the form of coffee cups and plastic cutlery, but these are less environmentally friendly than they may first appear. 

Break it down for me

The problem is, 'bioplastics' can refer to either materials that are made from plant-based material (like those used by Casio), or biodegradable plastics that can be broken down by bacteria. Not all plastics made from vegetable matter are biodegradable, and not all biodegradable plastics are made from veggies.

That plastic cup might be marked with a picture of a leaf or the word 'bio', but if it's not biodegradable, it's going to hang around for just as long as a petroleum-based version. And even if it is 'compostable', it'll only break down in very specific conditions in an industrial facility. Toss it in your home compost heap alongside your potato peelings, and it'll still be there years later. It won't be recyclable with the rest of your household plastics, either – you'd be much better off with a more robust cup that you can wash and reuse. 

The type of plastic used by Casio almost certainly isn't biodegradable, but that's OK. The Pro Trek PRW-6611Y-1 and PRW-6621Y-1 are tough watches intended to last many years, so it's not so important that they're east to break down. Provided you were planning to invest in a new timepiece anyway, you may as well choose one that will use fewer petroleum products.

Solar powered

Like the PRW-1, the two new 'green' G-Shock watches use photovoltaic cells to keep their batteries topped up, are water resistant to 100 meters, and feature full auto LED lights. They also offer world time, a stopwatch, five programmable alarms, and sensors including an altimeter, barometer, and thermometer.

The pair are currently only available in Japan, with a price tag of 57,200 yen (about $450 / £350 / AU$600), but they may be released internationally later in the year.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)