It is estimated that in the year 2020, 3.6 billion people worldwide actively possessed and used some sort of mobile smartphone. When thinking about the environmental impact of all of this technology, the case is generally overlooked. Given that almost everyone with a phone owns a case, mostly made of plastic, we are looking at a massive amount of plastic that will end up in landfills or the ocean. Conceptually, compostable phone cases, which are gaining momentum, would be a good solution to this issue. However the Compostable Case from Casetify is an awful choice compared to other compostable alternatives. This Hong Kong based company does not care about sustainability and actively hides information about their supply chain. This company is full of greenwashing and in general, bad news. Do not buy this case or any other cases from Casetify.
These compostable cases are made from Casetify’s trademarked blend of compostable materials called EcotifyTM. This blend consists of bamboo material, corn starch, and “Pellet Material” that they classify as a biopolymer. Now, I know what bamboo and cornstarch are, but biopolymer pellet material could literally be any polymer or mix of polymers that were created by any living thing ever. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to lack of information and transparency about their materials. No other information about EcotifyTM was provided and everywhere on the website that mentioned it included the same buzzword-filled phrases. For me, the bamboo raises concerns of monoculture, high water input, and soil degradation that are all characteristics of massive bamboo plantations. Likewise, monoculture and pesticide usage/runoff are both major issues associated with corn farming and because there is no mention of organic or sustainable farming, I am going to assume the worst. On the other hand, Casetify has taken some steps to improve the sustainability of their materials. The Compostable case includes zero virgin plastic which is a step in the right direction away from our reliance on petroleum based materials. Also, their packaging contains zero single use plastic and is entirely made of recycled cardboard and compostable. One other thing worth mentioning is the greenwashing that can surround the word composting. These cases are ASTM D6400 standard meaning they technically are compostable, but not in the, throw it in your backyard compost heap way. These cases must be composted at an industrial facility where it takes a minimum of 180 days to break down.
I seriously could have left this section blank. There is absolutely zero information ANYWHERE, about how these phone cases are made. I will be getting Casetify ads until the day I die because of how many google searches I did trying to find any speck of information. But the where and the how of the Casetify compostable phone case is still a mystery. The only thing I could confirm was that Casetify cases ship from Hong Kong regardless if you order from L.A., Sydney, or Lima. Because the company is based and was founded in Hong Kong, this leads me to believe that production also takes place somewhere in Southern China. The thing I find so frustrating about this is that in large lettering on the website under a “Staying Transparent” subtitle, Casetify writes “We're open about what we've done, and where we need to make progress”. That is just a straight up greenwashing lie.
As mentioned in the previous section, no information is provided about the factories these cases are produced in or the people that make them. If my assumption is correct and these cases are produced somewhere in China, it is a massive red flag that no information is provided about the workers. With independent unions outlawed in all Chinese provinces and labor laws spottily enforced, there is no way to know if the workers are working in hospitable conditions or being paid fairly. Especially with recent news of the forced labor of the Uyghur people by the Chinese government, no info on Casetify’s labor force is very concerning. As for Casetify itself, their sustainability plans are full of performative statements and unrealistic goals with no plans on how to reach them. For example they state that one of their main goals regarding sustainability is to plant 7.8 billion trees. Currently they have partnered with Earthday.org and have planted 50,000 trees. Although this action is commendable, that is still only one-one hundred and fifty six thousandth of their goal. These sustainability initiatives are not in the slightest bit reasonable and completely ignore their main issues as a company such as their supply chain and single use plastics of all of their other phone cases and accessories.