There are a number of reasons why they aren’t at this stage – although we’re working towards it. Firstly, micro plastics are extremely difficult to separate into different types of plastic. Although the types of plastic that they are mix well, we still get a small amount of polystyrene and sticks. No injection moulding company will take this to form into a phonecase. On top of this, we LOVE the marble effect we get when we compression mould our micro plastics – if we injection mould them, it’ll turn into one colour – dark grey. Yuck.
Therefor we’re left with a number of options –
1. Use a compostable phonecase. Compostable, biodegradable, sustainable phone cases are the perfect greenwashing marketing ploy. They are either made of PLA or a mix of organic material and virgin plastic. They market them cleverly, by using words like “55% originates from non renewable sources”. Ultimately, a phone case made of PLA or mixed organic material CANNOT be recycled, and if left to degrade in the ocean – would either act exactly like plastic (PLA) or breakup into plastic dust and pollute the entire ecosystem. We’re not bout dat.
2. Use a virgin plastic phone case. We’re not bout dat either. No new plastic is used in the phonecase.
3. Use a recycled plastic phonecase. We have opted for the recycled plastic base case purely because…
a) It creates no new plastic.
b) We can collect it back from the consumer (giving a discount of 20% off a new one) and repurpose it into recycled plastic sheets. Circular economy style.
c) They are professionally made and fit all models perfectly, without us having to go through the tooling design stage juuust yet.
4. Mould a phone case out of the larger ocean plastics and put our micro plastic back into it. By making it out of larger macro plastics from the ocean, we can be sure the case is devoid of sticks and polystyrene foam. Moulding out of larger plastics is our favoured option, and we are working towards this immediately. Tooling for injection moulding is very expensive and there are lots of models, so we’re saving our pounds to make this a reality. Plus, we don’t know how well the ocean plastic will hold up in the phonecase, ocean plastic can be very brittle. An attribute that would make a VERY bad phone case!
For the moment, option three is a perfect stepping stone between where we are now, and where we want to be.