It has become mandatory to own a cell phone this day-and-age. Without one, you are not only missing calls, but also loads of inside jokes shared via text, emotive emojiis and hundreds of applications that will supposedly improve your cognitive development (perhaps attempting to counteract the brain degradation that the radiation from cell phones have been found to cause). With that being said, some of us activists out there cringe at the morals we compromise when using a cellphone. Environmental and health factors run the gamut of depleting numerous natural resources alongside of using an excessive supply of energy and water, contributing directly to byproducts that cause an unreasonable amount of pollution and waste. I’ll spare you the statistics here, but just knowing that more than 140 million cell phones make their way into landfills each year, leaking lead directly into the earth and groundwater, is enough for most reasonable citizens to demand alternative options for future technology. The sacrifices that are made for our convenience is appalling. Moreover, the one initiative we as cellphone consumers have the ability to make is the choice to recycle our phones, along with other electronics, at the end of their life line, however, less than 25% actually are reprocessed.
Therefore, for reasons that are obvious, innovators and inventors have been researching for more sustainable options in recent years and fortunate for us, it’s looking as though there may be some hope.
Just this past month, designer Sean Miles developed a cell phone that might give some of us painstaking-purists some relief for the future of gadgets. After 240 hours in the studio, Miles crafted a cell phone made entirely from recycled products and natural elements, including treated pulped grass clippings and recycled resin. He described it as a composite material similar to carbon fire – finally a sustainable alternative to plastic molding. This design was originally developed as a one-time prototype for O2 Recycle to represent the value of recycling. However, Design Works was impressed with the first model and is now continuing to look into the possibility of replicating it on a larger scale.
Cell phones are one of the major contributors to the e-waste crisis we are dealing with on a day-to-day basis. Cuttting down on some of the excess material by making these small adjustments to the design is a much-needed small step in the right direction for reducing our technology waste over time. Perhaps one day, hopefully in the not-so-distant future, we will all sport compostable phones, not because it will be a fad but rather, because it will be a compulsory country-wide mandate. One can only hope.