Pela Case Develops A Compostable Plastic-Alternative To Protect Your Phone

By: Casha Doemland

We're living in a time where cell phones are the main form of communication, whether it's through text messages, FaceTiming, sliding into Instagram DMs or live-Tweeting your daily activities to your 12 followers.

As phones increase in price and size, the urge to protect your smartphone from cracking on the sidewalk when you drop it for the 15th time is at an all-time high. While it's all fine and dandy to protect your iPhone X that cost you a grand, have you ever thought about the amount of plastic that is involved in doing so?

Jeremy Long, a co-founder of Pela Case, a sustainable phone case company based in Canada, has.

He's even doing something about it. In 2011, Long created a proprietary material called Flaxstic™ with his other company Open Mind Developments (OMD) that specializes in biodegradable and compostable consumer products.


According to OMD, “Flaxstic™ is a combination of flax straw waste and biopolymers. The flax fiber and flax shive provide the biopolymers with a unique, eco-friendly appearance while maintaining the biodegradability, compostability and strength of the biopolymer."

In layman's terms, they've taken the waste from flax, a blue herbaceous plant cultivated for its seeds that's common in Saskatchewan, breaking it down into biocomposites—or, the resin of the fiber—and combined it with plant-based biopolymers and recycled materials. Additionally, the flax shive, which adds an appearance of specks, are actually the byproducts of the flax oilseed—another use for the agri-waste.

"The biopolymers we use to make the Pela Case are plant-based and the manufacturing requires up to 50% less non-renewable energy and produces up to 60% fewer greenhouse gases than traditional plastic polymers," according to Pela.

As of now, Pela is the only company using Flaxstic™ in their products, yet there is room to grow.

“We are still in the early stages of growth, and as the demand continues to rise for our phone cases, we are using this time to truly consider each step of our process of getting quality products to our customers and how to cut waste wherever we want,” says Pela co-founder Sunta Sem. “To remain ethically conscious as we grow is really important to us. It will not always be easy, but we believe the best we can do is to be as transparent as possible, so our customers know who and what they’re supporting.”

For those wondering if the case is going to break down in your sweaty pocket, the answer is no. The cases were specifically designed to only break down in a composting environment anywhere from 6 months to 2 or 3 years – if you do not have access to one at the end of your case's life, you can mail the case back to Pela, and they'll dispose of it for you!

If for whatever reason it does start to deteriorate, you can send your case back for a free replacement, because they believe in the Happiness Guarantee.

All in all, you really have nothing to lose by investing in a Pela Case. The composition of materials is shock-absorbing, which means it will bounce back if you drop it.  There’s a happiness guarantee if the wear and tear become too much and it composts at the end of its life, leaving no trace it ever existed in the first place.

Now if only we could afford a new iPhone.