Plastic Free July
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Plastic Free July

What is a Sustainable Phone Case?

At Pela, we are not only committed to providing our customers with sustainable products, but also to helping to educate the public on what makes something sustainable and how to make sustainable choices. Two key factors we teach our customers to look for when selecting a product are the materials it is made from, and what its end of life will look like.

Clear Case with Bee Design in front of face


To create a sustainable product, companies should avoid the use of synthetic, petroleum-based materials, which require more energy to produce, may produce toxic chemicals and fumes during the process of manufacturing, and are typically non-recycled and non-recyclable. One common greenwashing technique many companies use is advertising their products as “plant-based” when they only contain 10 or 20% plant-derived materials and are otherwise made from synthetics.

Pela’s signature Flaxstic material is made from 45% plant-based materials. The back panel of our new Clear case is made from 100% plant-based materials.

End of Life

The ideal end of life for a phone case should be less than 1 year, and should not result in the leaching of any harmful chemicals into the soil or water, or produce any microplastics. To achieve this, you should choose products that are certified as compostable, and be sure that the product is certified through a third party and not by the manufacturer themselves. 

The Pela Case is designed to fully compost in under 6 months, making it the only compostable phone case currently on the market. This image shows how Pela Case gracefully goes back into nature.

Conventional Case Intact vs Pela Case Broken Down

12 Week Compost Test: Conventional Case vs Pela

Here are images from our latest 12 week compost test. So can see how Pela (right) compares to a conventional phone case (left). For this test, we bury both cases into an industrial compost near our office in Kelowna, BC, Canada. The compost is turned and tended to by the facility, we just visit every few weeks to take photos and check on our results. As you can see, the Pela case has almost completely broken down after 12 weeks, while the traditional case is largely intact

Biodegradable = Compostable?

One of the most common greenwashing techniques used in the phone case market is the interchangeable use of the terms “biodegradable” and “compostable.” Despite the common misconception that the terms “biodegradable” and “compostable” are one and the same, these two terms have very different meanings. Compostable products must fully break down leaving nothing behind within a year, and can only compost in a composting environment, not a landfill. 

Biodegradable products may also fully break down over time, but do not have a set lifespan, and may take decades or centuries to fully degrade. Additionally, biodegradable products will not break down efficiently in a compost pile, and should instead be thrown away and sent to the landfill. Check out what happened when we compared a biodegradable phone case to the compostable Pela Case in a simulated composting environment:

Conventional Case and Pela Case
Conventional Case not broken down
"Biodegradable" Case After
Pela Case Broken Down
Pela Case After

The Problem with Greenwashing

Greenwashing is a deceptive marketing technique used to promote a product as environmentally friendly when it is not. Examples of Greenwashing include using false certification claims, incorrect terminology, and specific emphasis of irrelevant claims. Greenwashing not only helps businesses make more sales but can also help improve their reputation. With few regulations in place to prevent greenwashing, consumers are left to do their own research in order to distinguish truly sustainable products from the fakes.

Phones on table with cards and gummy bears

Why Pela?

At Pela, we’ve been working to reduce plastic pollution by offering consumers a more environmentally friendly alternative to the traditional phone case.

With more than 1 billion plastic phone cases sold every year, tens of thousands of pounds of plastic are being contributed to landfills and illegal dumping grounds annually. By simply making the switch to Pela, half a million people have helped to keep more than 313,528 pounds of plastic from ever being produced. 

The interest we’ve seen in Pela Cases has proven to us that consumers are ready for a sustainable shift in the marketplace. People want to make a difference and have a genuine desire to support environmentally friendly products and practices.

Do you want to learn more about compostable plastics, reducing waste, and protecting the environment? Visit Pela to check out our full line of phone cases, and be sure to check out our blog for more information, tips, tricks, and environmental news.