Although there’s no shortage of phone cases out there to choose from, eco-friendly phone cases are a fool-proof way to protect your phone and make the Earth a little greener. Instead of contributing to the 270 million tonnes of global plastic waste being generated annually, these cases can be composted or recycled, helping decelerate environmental degradation.
When searching for protective Samsung and iPhone cases, think of the functionalities that you want the case to have: should it be MagSafe-compatible? Is it antibacterial? Has it been drop-tested? Additionally, it’s important to bear in mind that not all eco-friendly cases are made equal. Is it better to buy a recyclable or a biodegradable phone case? A plant-based case or one made with recycled plastic? We’ve done the research for you with this list of the best eco-friendly phone cases.
— Best Overall: Pela iPhone 13 Pro Max Case
— Best Budget: Agood Company Samsung Mobile Case Bings A Colourful World
— Best Protection: Nimble Spotlight Case
— Best Antibacterial: MMORE Antibacterial Eco-Friendly Phone Case
— Most Stylish: CASETiFY Acid Smiles iPhone 13 Pro Max Phone Case
— Best Personalized: Najture iPhone 12 Customized Phone Case
How We Picked the Best Eco-Friendly Phone Cases
When choosing the best eco-friendly phone cases, we considered crucial factors like price, material, design, sustainable practices, and green certifications. We looked at more than 20 companies with phone cases made from recycled, biodegradable, or compostable materials. Although questions of style are subjective, we’ve included both minimalist and maximalist designs and many other styles in between.
In addition, all of the phone cases we chose are packaged using recycled materials, and most of the manufacturers donate to charitable organizations or pay earnings forward by contributing to other sustainability initiatives and projects.
Best Eco-Friendly Phone Cases: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Pela iPhone 13 Pro Max Case
Why It Made The Cut: Stylish, durable, and 100 percent compostable, these classic Pela cases are built for a good time and a long time.
— Material: Flaxstic® (plant-based bioplastic)
— Recyclable Packing: Yes
— Eco-Friendly Feature: Biodegradation within two years (in proper conditions)
— Grippy and soft texture
— Unique look from flax material
— Donates one percent of earnings to charity
— Additional phone models available
— A bit pricey
— Limited customization
Across the board, Pela cases are fully biodegradable within six months to two years, and are free of lead, cadmium, BPA, or phthalates. Like other Pela cases, the Pela iPhone 13 Pro Max Case is made from Flaxstic®, Pela’s proprietary phone case technology that combines compostable plant-based biopolymers, flax straw, and other recycled materials. It comes in a variety of beautiful colors like lavender, sage green, and stormy blue. If you have an older model iPhone, you can also pick up a deal on used Pela cases.
Pela’s founder, Jeremy Lang, incorporated flax straw into the phone cases after seeing how much flax was wasted in his home province of Saskatchewan, Canada, giving Pela cases a “freckled” look. Thanks to its natural flax fibers and wrap-around edges, the case is also lightweight, shock-absorbent, and drop-resistant. You can also recycle an old phone case made from any material with the Pela 360 recycling initiative.
Pela is Climate Neutral-certified, meaning the company achieves net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by balancing its emissions with initiatives that eliminate or offset the environmental damage. As a member of 1% for the Planet, Pela also donates at least one percent of all profits to help combat environmental issues. In addition to iPhones, the company also designs cases for Samsung, Google Pixel, and Huawei.
Why It Made The Cut: Incredible value at an affordable price, heartwarming charitable mission, and sustainable design combine in this phone case.
— Material: Plastic-free, 100 percent plant-based materials
— Recyclable Packing: Yes
— Eco-Friendly Feature: Compostable and recyclable
— Top-tier value
— Donations for humanitarian causes
— Vegan Society-certified
— Samsung and iPhone cases available
— Not made in the U.S.
Agood Company is (surprise!) a good company. Hailing from Sweden, the phone case and stationery company delivers “climate positive” goods at wallet-friendly prices.
This particular Agood Samsung (S22) case is part of a limited collection of phone cases to raise funds for charitable causes, and includes colorful, “world peace” lettering as part of the design. The case is slim at 1.2mm thick, but strong, with raised edges for maximum protection, and is available for multiple Samsung and iPhone models.
Every phone case at Agood Company is completely made from ecologically-farmed linseed residue that is locally produced — allowing the company to avoid inorganic fertilizers and pesticides. As a result, each phone case is Vegan Society-certified and compostable. If that’s not impressive enough, the phone cases are made in a Swedish factory powered by solar and hydropower (with 100 percent reused water).
The company is passionate about sustainable circularity, which means that every used phone case can be exchanged with a brand new one for a small fee through the Agood Loop program. Additionally, Agood donates four percent of its revenue to A Good Foundation, which works with communities around the world to foster sustainability and positive impacts.
Best Protection: Nimble Spotlight Case for iPhone
Why It Made The Cut: Protective, durable, and certified by sustainability nonprofits, Nimble’s phone cases impress by not compromising between performance and sustainability.
— Material: 72 percent certified recycled plastics
— Recyclable Packing: Yes
— Eco-Friendly Feature: Sustainable material and carbon neutral
— Carbon Neutral-certified
— Drop-proof up to 15 feet
— Non-slip texture for added security
— Recyclable, but not compostable or biodegradable
— Made from plastic, even though it’s recycled PET plastic
— Available for iPhone 11, 12, and 13 models only
Marketed as “thoughtful technology” made for good, Nimble’s spotlight phone case is made from 72 percent recycled materials such as polycarbonate, TPU, and silicone. Guaranteed by a 2-year warranty and drop-proof up to 15 feet, the Nimble phone case was made to last. Once the case arrives in plastic-free packaging and exceeds its lifespan, you can send it back to Nimble for free to receive 15 percent off your next purchase.
As a Certified B Corporation, Nimble prides itself on paving the way to a more inclusive and sustainable economy with ethical suppliers, sustainable materials, free e-waste recycling, carbon-neutral shipping, and plastic-free packaging. Nimble is also a member of 1% for the Planet (donating one percent of all revenue to environmental nonprofits). To achieve carbon neutrality, the company has invested in carbon offset projects pushing for biogas development, electric vehicle charging, wind energy, and landfill gas removal.
Best Antibacterial: MMORE Antibacterial Eco-Friendly Phone Case
Why It Made The Cut: With multiple pastel colors and models, these antibacterial and biodegradable cases also protect you from transmitting bacteria and other viruses during your day.
— Material: Wheat straw, flax, and PBAT bioplastic
— Recyclable Packing: Yes
— Eco-Friendly Feature: Biodegradable
— Breaks down viral cell structures in up to 30 minutes
— Full phone encasing for protection
— Compatible with MagSafe wireless charging
— Only fits certain iPhone models
If you’re looking for an antibacterial and sustainable phone case, MMORE’s Antibacterial Biodegradable Phone Case is a perfect choice. Composed of a mix of wheat straw, flax, and PBAT (bioplastic), this hand-made case is biodegradable and arrives in “zero waste,” plastic-free packaging. While ensuring that you remain bacteria-free, the case also features a full protective encasing and flexible, water-resistant material for comfort, convenience, and grip.
Although the antibacterial case is extremely impressive, MMORE’s signature cases are more nature-based, like their wood collection with hand-carved, FSC-backed wood cases or the organic collection with natural jasmine and other scented cases. MMORE’s founder began small, with his own hobby in woodworking, but the company grew from there. It now partners with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant a tree for every phone case purchased. To get the most use of each product, MMORE also offers a recycling program for you to ship back an old case nearing the end of its lifespan.
Most Stylish: CASETiFY Acid Smiles Phone Case for iPhone 13 Max
Why It Made The Cut: CASETiFY’s sleek phone case designs are extremely durable, and can be shipped back to the company to be recycled or composted at an industrial facility.
— Material: Plant-based polymer blend
— Recyclable Packing: Yes
— Eco-Friendly Feature: Printed with eco-friendly ink
— Up to four-foot drop protection
— Wireless charging and MagSafe compatible
— Only compostable in industrial facilities (not backyard compost piles)
The Acid Smiles iPhone 13 Max Phone Case fuses beauty and utility, and is part of a range of trendy CASETiFY cases. Plus, the company also offers wallet accessories that are made from recycled materials, so you can “create” your own eco-friendly wallet phone case. The case’s trendy acidic smile design (which is printed using non-toxic, eco-friendly soy ink), is perfect for the fashion-forward crowd, while its raised edges protect your phone screen from drops up to four feet.
Made from a plant-based blend of biopolymers, starch, and bamboo, the case can be composted in industrial facilities only (not in your backyard). It’s important to note that these facilities are extremely limited, however, when you no longer need it, you may send the phone case back to RECASETiFY’s recycling program and they’ll collect the cases in bulk and send them to a proper industrial composter. Plus, you’ll receive a 15 percent discount on your next purchase. CASETiFY also supports Earthday.org to help plant trees and restore natural resources. Though its eco-friendly features and style more than make up for it, this case is one of the pricer options.
Best Personalized: Najture iPhone 12 Customized Phone Case
Why It Made The Cut: Ethically sourced, vegan, and compostable in an industrial facility, this customizable Najture case allows you to add your own spin on your new sustainable phone case by making a statement.
— Material: Natural plant starches (bioplastic)
— Recyclable Packing: Yes
— Eco-Friendly Feature: Compostable in industrial facilities
— Compatible with wireless and MagSafe charging
— Cruelty-free and ethically sourced
— Very customizable
— Should be kept away from heat and rain
Unlike other phone cases that use recycled plastics, the Najture iPhone 12 Statement Case is made from natural materials, many of which you can gather from a quick trip to the farmer’s market, giving the case its naturally-speckled look. The case is 30 percent soil, 7.5 percent onions, carrots, and peppers, plus 1.5 percent sawdust, 18 percent rice, 18 percent soybeans, 10 percent wheat, and entirely vegan and compostable in an industrial facility. Completely free of BPA, phthalates, lead, and cadmium, the case is 1.8mm thick and decomposes completely in around a year (in a composting environment). For its customized expressions, Najture uses eco-friendly UV printing, which you can customize and order on the website in a range of fonts, sizes, and colors.
Like many other eco-friendly phone case brands, Najture also offers a recycling program and contributes to sustainability with its reforestation initiative through One Tree Planted. For every Najture purchase, the company plants another tree, donating a percentage of its total profits towards rewilding the world.
Things to Consider Before Buying an Eco-Friendly Phone Case
Apart from pricing, be sure to check if the phone case is compatible with your particular cell phone type, and think about other features such as durability and sustainability when choosing the best case for you. Is it recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable?
It’s important to verify the brand of phone and specific model to ensure that the phone case will fit. Many companies that sell eco-friendly phone cases offer several models for both iPhones and Samsung phones, however, options for Google Pixel, Huawei, and others are more limited.
Depending on your lifestyle and clumsiness, durability is a great feature for your phone case to have. While a city-dweller might exchange durability for beauty in the form of a slimmer, fashionable case with less water-proofing or drop-testing, a practiced hiker or pet owner might want to find a rugged case that includes a drop-protection guarantee.
It can be tricky to separate truly sustainable organizations from greenwashed companies that claim to be eco-friendly. The key to identifying truly sustainable companies lies in transparency and action. Where are their materials sourced? Where and how are their products made? Do they donate a final percentage of sales to sustainable causes? Are their products wrapped in recyclable packaging instead of plastic? All of these questions are important to consider when selecting an eco-friendly phone case.
“Biodegradable” vs. “Compostable”
While you might hear these words being used interchangeably, a biodegradable product is different from a compostable one. Composting breaks down organic materials in a specific environment within a certain time frame in a way that nourishes the soil (by becoming compost). Biodegrading is the rapid, natural breakdown process for all things (without a set time frame) that may include nonorganic material.
In addition, certain “compostable” bioplastics (plant-based plastics) are produced using renewable resources, however, many require specific conditions in industrial composting facilities that are in limited supply. Unless the manufacturer provides a way to properly dispose of products that require these industrial conditions, we recommend choosing a phone case that is fully compostable at home so the case doesn’t end up in a landfill.
Q: How much do eco-friendly phone cases cost?
Ranging from around $20 to $50, eco-friendly phone cases are a bit pricier than their traditional, non eco-friendly counterparts. However, these added expenses often supplement the “hidden costs” that may be ignored by other manufacturers (such as global plastic waste).
Q: Is Otterbox eco-friendly?
Made from plastic and rubber, Otterbox phone cases are known for their durability, but they’re far from eco-friendly. These cases only break down after several hundred years, contributing to large-scale environmental harm when smaller, broken-down pieces of plastic (called microplastics) make their way into our ecosystems.
Q: What do I do with my old phone cases?
If your old phone cases no longer serve the purpose they were designed for, drop them off with general phone case recycling programs like Terracycle and Pela 360, or donate them to local charities and thrift stores. If your old phone case is from brands with existing recycling initiatives like CASETiFY and Agood Company, ship your case back for a new one! There are also a lot of DIY ideas on Pinterest if you want to try upcycling your old cases.
Q: Are silicone phone cases eco-friendly?
Silicone phone cases are not as eco-friendly as phone cases made from recyclable or biodegradable materials. This is because silicone is not biodegradable and has to be sent to specialized facilities to be properly recycled.
Q: How long do compostable cases last?
Depending on the brand, compostable cases can last up to many years and take from 6 months to several years to fully break down (in proper conditions).
Q: Are wooden phone cases eco-friendly?
Although specific sustainability practices still vary on an individual basis, phone cases made with wood are generally more eco-friendly than those made from plastic, as wood is very biodegradable and leaves a smaller carbon footprint than plastic or rubber. However, it is important to check where the raw (wood) materials are sourced from to ensure the product is either using reclaimed wood or lumber that is coming from sustainably-managed forests.
Final Thoughts on Eco-Friendly Phone Cases
When selecting an eco-friendly phone case, the perfect balance of form and function is key in order to protect your phone while making the world greener. So before you make your choice, be sure to examine your lifestyle and daily routine to ascertain what you really need. For a balanced mix of style, sustainability, and durability, we recommend Pela Cases as our top choice overall. However, if you’re shopping on a budget, we suggest checking out Agood Company’s eco-friendly phone cases for an affordable alternative.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.