Technology has been integrated into our society over the last 20 years and is now a vital part of our life. It helps with everyday tasks, connects us with people around the world and has changed the way the world is run. It also allows information, stories, ideas and suggestions to be shared. For those reasons I love technology. On top of this, it can increase your productivity and ease of life, whilst being fun to use and a massive point of entertainment in the twenty-first century. However, technology and electrical products are often very poor at caring for the environment, which is something I hope they change and I am here to advocate for. I believe most people do not realise the impact they have on the world and this is more so in technology and getting the “latest” phone, laptop, camera or home tech. Therefore, for those that are considerate for our future but still wants to pick up some technology to help them connect with the world here are some key aspects to look for when making your next tech purchase:
Transparency is key to a green and sustainable future. The first step to being green is understanding your impact and to do this you need to understand the product and the company. Before you look at a specific product, look at the company, are they clear with their goals, aims and impact as a whole? In regards to a product, can you find out what parts are in it and where they come from, were it is put together. Even right down to the source of the base materials? This will all help with understanding the full impact the item will have. Look out for open and honest companies that give as much information about the product as possible. Just be careful of greenwashing, as the company might highlight certain credentials to hide or overshadow others or altogether have unfounded claims.
A clear and obvious one is to check how much carbon does the product produce in its creation and even its life (the power consumption). Carbon counting is and will hopefully continue to become a must have figure to all products and if a company offers this it is a good indication on a product's sustainability. The lower the carbon footprint the better. However, if the company does not tell you it can be very hard to find out. When looking at carbon footprint if it is possible you should look at the whole life carbon, as a higher initial carbon footprint might result in a lower one over the life of a product or even the carbon to recycle the item at the end of the products life. I believe this will become a huge part of our future, so look out for it and ask these companies to provide it.
Power is unfortunately not always sustainable and certainly not green or clean. It is also not infinite (yet) and with an ever growing population the demand for it is constantly increasing. Due to this, we need to get more power efficient items of tech going forward to reduce what we use. The more efficient and less we use the less is needed to be produced. This reduces any negative impact from fossil fuel power stations but also allows power to be used for more critical functions such as at hospitals.
Many materials in tech harm the planet. This can be from materials that are mined, which can scar the earth or can be from materials we create like Plastic that also pollute the planet. Therefore, it is good to look for sustainably sourced and natural materials that are used. When looking at the materials in a product look for those that have a higher recycled content, use natural & sustainable materials (if safe to do so) and that minimises the amount they use compared to others. Also, look at the packaging used and make sure this is recyclable. Look for sustainable, no-toxic and ethically sourced materials to be eco-friendly. It is also important to begin to think of the products end of life (see below) and how the materials used will affect this.
Ethical supply chain
This one might be a little tricky to track and check but a company may note it or have a certification with the product detailing it. An ethical supply chain looks at the social responsibility of the corporation. The aim of which is to ensure the product is created in a way that treats workers and the environment ethically. If you know where some of the parts of the product come from then you can check if they are ethical too. It is not just the company itself but the entire supply chain leading to the product being in your hands. Some obvious things to think about is making sure they pay their staff a living wage, do not use sweat factories or child labour or actively pollute our earth.
Repairable and Upgradable?
Moving away from our wasteful culture we need to look at keeping our items including tech in use for as long as possible. To do this we want products that are repairable, so we can continue to use them or upgrade them to keep up with the rest of the world without completely replacing the whole item. Upgradability is an important factor in technology in order to keep up with new software, games and the hardware needs to meet this demand. Therefore, we need to make products upgradable without having to waste the entire device. Look out for companies that design their device to have key components replace increasing the longevity of the product. This all leads to less waste, better use of resources and less carbon emissions, which is obviously better for the environment.
End of life
The world has grown a throw away culture, which is literally killing our planet. We need to get away from this and adopt a circular economy (cradle-to-cradle) approach that allows a product to be reused, remade, or recycled in some way. A lot of companies do buy back or offer discounts for your old trade in, which is a good start. However, the product needs to be made with materials that can be reused and recycled. When purchasing a new item consider its end of life, as this will be something that has to be dealt with in the future.
As an additional bonus a company may back positive initiatives such as charities, planting trees, carbon off-setting, recycling programmes and the like that help them get closer to a truly eco-friendly company. Although this is a great addition your first consideration should be the sustainability and eco-friendliness of the product itself but if the company supports charities you do it is a great addition to your purchase.
At the moment it might be quite hard to find out all this information, as many companies do not disclose it at all (especially when it is not very good for the environment). However, the more we understand about the product and company the better we can view how sustainable, eco-friendly or green it is for us to buy it. I understand you probably do not have the time to fully check a product , nor do I but a quick google search and a run through of the criteria above will help you make the right choice. Always think of the life of a product, as the longer we use something the less waste is produced and the less carbon is used. We also need to push for companies to fully disclose their products information and supply chain, as well as making their products repairable and upgradable. This will put sustainability and our planet's future as a priority when making new products. I hope the above will give you a few items to consider when making your next tech purchase and hopefully in time we will be able to find eco-friendly tech that meets our needs without jeopardising our future.
Updated: Feb 5
Well like most of you, I have a phone and want to protect but unfortunately most phone cases out there are made out of plastic, which I am sure I do not need to tell you is not the best option when trying to live sustainably. Additionally, if you are anything like me you are prone to dropping your phone and want to protect it from the glass cracking, scratches and ultimately the phone breaking. So whilst looking for a new eco-friendly, sustainable phone case for my Huawei P30 Pro I came across Pela, who make a wide range of eco-friendly phone cases and other products. I had seen them in numerous social media posts and across the internet in the past but never thought much of them at the time. However, now I am in need of a phone case, I decided to order one and see. Here I go into Pela, my phone case from them and to see what makes them so eco-friendly.
What they offer?
Pela offer a wide range of phone cases, not just your typical iPhone cases many companies do, as well as a number of accessories, all with a variation of colours and patterns. Recently I looked on their site and was presently surprised they offer cases for a wide range of iPhone models and a large array of android phones. I was also incredibly surprised by the fact they even had one for my phone, the Huawei P30 Pro, which is often sometimes too niche for most companies to make one for. They also make cases for air pods, as well as a wide range of accessory items such as smart watchbands, phone grips, cardholders and liquid screen protectors.
What is it made of?
The case I picked up is made of a material they call flaxstic, which uses plant based bioplastic elastomers and flax straw, which is a bi-product of flax oil seeds. All of which allows it to be compostable and biodegradable, which of course is great for the environment and a must if you are trying to go zero waste. Pela currently note that their cases are completely compostable and free from a number of harmful materials such as lead, cadmium, BPA and phthalates, allowing it to return to nature once you don’t want it any more. They also try to use renewable resources helping to reduce any negative impact. Further to all this, all their packing is completely recycled and recyclable and can be composted too. It is clear that Pela are keen to help reduce waste for our planet, whilst creating a great product many need.
The case itself
Now Pela are known for their cases and as I have one, I thought it is only fitting to delve into the case and what I think of it. Firstly, getting the case on and off is very easy, it is very flexible allowing you to easily bend it over the corners of either side of your phone, making it quick to put on and off. It has a nice soft, almost rubbery feel to it but at the same time being matte and grippy, so you are less likely to drop it. Additionally, in my opinion it is quite thicker than most phone covers and has a lip over the front screen, helping to protect the phone all together and the glass from smashing from any accidental drops. I also think it looks nice and has a natural organic vibe, which is in line with the companies goals.
More on Pela
If you are looking for a way to reduce your waste, specifically plastic waste and need a phone case, then Pela is probably your best option. They also do more than create a great sustainable product they also help with your understanding through helping to detail the difference between biodegradable and compostable plastics. Additionally, looking through their website it appears they are a transparent company, which is another trait of eco-friendly, green companies. Even further to all this, they are also Climate Neutral Certified, Certified B Corporation and a proud member of 1% for the Planet. On top of all that they donates a % of every sale to Ocean Clean-up and Preservation Initiatives. So it is clear by purchasing from them you are supporting a company who are working hard to better the planet.
To conclude the pela case is probably one of the most eco-friendly cases you can get today, who also offer a wide range of case and other accessories with a range of colours and patterns. They are a green company who have created a great green product, which I currently believe deserve your support. Let me know what you think of the pela case if you have one or if you are going to get one. Also, if you have seen any other sustainable/ eco-friendly alternative phone cases that you have been looking at, let me know in the comments below.
Updated: Feb 6
Electric cars are becoming ever more popular, they are getting better looking, sustainable, economical and are clearly becoming the future of automobiles. Even recently, Volvo have announced that they aim to only produce electric cars by 2019. In this post, I have looked through several electric cars available at the moment and their aesthetics, cost and size to pick my favourite cars. I want to make it clear, I have never driven any of these care but are my opinion of the best from their looks, specs and reviews. Anyway, electric cars are not just great because of their sustainability but also economically, as to recharge an electric car is often much cheaper than a petrol or diesel one. Additionally, they have great tax benefits and many options of government grants, as well as being incredibly eco-friendly with little to no omissions. For this reason and more, you should get an electric car and here are my favourites you might want to consider. Although these are all fairly expensive, as any new car is now days, I have primarily looked at cars that will be used by the public and not the most expensive car only affordable to the extremely wealthy. Here are my top picks for electrical cars:
The Volkswagen e-Up is a great quick run around electric car packed with a ton of technology crammed in to the a typical clean Volkswagen interior look. It is well spaced, has alloy wheels and achieved good long-range ability for an electric car. Additionally, it has four doors, which is increasingly rare for newer cars.
Number of doors: 4
Starting price approximately: £25,000
The Nissan Leaf is a spacious family hatchback that gives a quiet comfortable ride. It again has great interior with large windows to let tons of light in to ‘emerge you into your driving experience’. It is reliable, as it included a number of safety features, which is a bonus. Lastly, you have the option to upgrade it to have even more gadgets to make it more high tech than the base model.
Number of doors: 4
Starting price approximately: £17,000
The second Volkswagen on this list gives a clean smooth drive but also provides spurts of power to give an excellent drive around the city centre. It has a fairly large battery for an electric car and has the ability to be charged at home from a three-pin connector. It comes with the usual beautiful Golf interior with some added highlights and features in easy to reach location. It is more spacious than other cars on this list, comes with 16inch alloy wheels, simple to use technological features and a brilliant car for its price.
Number of doors: 4
Starting price approximately: £25,000
Now the BMW i3 is on the more luxurious side of electric cars and full of innovation with a unique, easily identifiable look that whizzes through the street with its electric blue accents. It comes with new light weight carbonfibre-reinforces plastic (CFRP) body, has large windscreen and appealing light interior. It has the typical electrical systems from satnav to Bluetooth but also includes heated seats. It has a tons of power and in the case of emergency a backup petrol powered generator to complete this brilliant package.
Number of doors: 2 & two halves
Starting price approximately: £32,000
The Renault Zoe is one of the cheapest electric cars on the market. It is a great urban car brilliant for short journeys and running around your local town. It is an easy to use car with a typical appearance for new low budget cars on the streets today. It has good weight when driving and a nice updated interior with a fair number of gadgets including a touchscreen satnav and Bluetooth. Overall it is a quiet, classy, affordable electric care that you can pick up.
Number of doors: 4
Starting price approximately: £15,000+ (depending on model)
Tesla Model S
Tesla the well-known increasingly famous car of the future made by the new technology god, Elon Musk. This is by far the best looking car on the list but also has the price to match. As expected it comes packed with technology and gizmos in the futuristic cockpit of this high-end luxury car. This absolutely stunning car has room for your luggage and for adults to sit in the back, comes with great boosts of speed, brilliant steering and will easily get you notices.
Number of doors: 4
Starting price approximately: £60,000
Tesla Model 3
Another next level creation by Elon Musk but made for the general consumer and made to be mass produced. Here Tesla offer the Model 3. Again this is one of the best looking cars on the list with its sporty sedan look with some cool features, as mentioned above including the great autopilot mode. This is still incredibly stylish and screams modern high tech super car. It has Tesla’s iconic sloping roofline and a nice open window area. This is a bit more affordable than the above but still not the cheapest on the list but it is a Tesla after all.
Number of Doors: 4
Starting price approximately: £35,000
Electric cars are speeding into the fast lane both literally and metaphorically. The electric car industry is currently blooming and with encouragement from many governments is defiantly a strong consideration when buying your next car. Cars are probably the second largest asset you will buy in your life, so you want one that is reliable and future proof. I am incredibly excited to see the future of electric cars and the brilliant inventions that are sure to be coming out soon. We hope that the list above gave you some options for a potential purchase or just to get you thinking of the future of the automobile industry.