Eco-friendly products often look like a compromise: more expensive than ordinary products, sometimes less functional… and rarely fresher. Samsung aims to change all that dynamic with the release of new limited-edition Galaxy S21 cases and Galaxy Watch bands by streetwear designer Sean Wotherspoon.
The products carry smart and Earth Day-appropriate designs, including planet Earth icons, peach simples, flowers, and more, and come in colorful themes called Orchid, Dan, and Rain. They’re made from an eco-friendly substance called thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) which Samsung says is non-toxic, contains no residue of DMF (a toxic solvent), is not plasticized and can be recycled when the time comes. But they don’t just recycle: they can simply decompose in a landfill, unlike your average piece of plastic.
“The data shows that it biodegrades significantly – in the right conditions, i.e. it won’t degrade on your wrist! But in landfill conditions, it degrades 20 to 30% in 180 days,” Mark Newton, Samsung’s sustainability manager, told TechRadar. In other words, the products won’t just fall off your body or around your cell phone, but they will completely decompose.
Newton pointed us to plastics manufacturing company Toto Toa, a name that means “brave blood” in Samoan. The site offers details of its plastics, which it says are “made from TPUs diverted from the waste stream during the manufacturing process” of other products including phone cases, sports goods, shoes , etc.
“From the start, it was clear that we were aligned with our commitment to sustainability and finding real eco-conscious solutions that people can use in their daily lives,” Sean Wotherspoon said in a press release. announcing new cases. “That’s what drew me to this opportunity. The collection is a simple yet powerful way for people to show their support for the planet on Earth Day.
The concept of breaking down tech gear isn’t new, and these aren’t the first fully biodegradable cases on the market. You can get compostable cases from Pela, Casetify, and a good company, for example, and other companies aim to recycle used plastic, tires, and anything else into your next gadget holder. But these products don’t carry the street cred that Samsung aims to bring through its partnership with indie designer Wotherspoon.
“When I found this I thought it would be one of those fancy things,” Samsung’s Newton joked. “But I dug into it, learned more about the vendors that produce the hardware, and I’m pretty excited about it.”
What is a 100% recycled TPU? It is a polyurethane material that has been gathered, reground and reproduced in a fresh new resin. And it’s then “cross-linked” with a material that allows it to biodegrade, Newton explained.
The limited-edition case and band release will go live tomorrow for Earth Day at 10 a.m. ET / 7 a.m. PT on Samsung.com.