I wrote a few weeks ago about my mobile quandary: my current mobile phone is on its last legs and, as hard as I try, I can’t envisage my life without a mobile phone these days. Especially given as my landline has, for no apparent reason, randomly decided to give up the ghost.
The Bamboo Alternative
I mentioned before that I didn’t think it was possible to get a phone that wasn’t plastic. It still isn’t possible for me to get one, but a little further research has revealed that such phones do exist, thanks to the wonder of bamboo. In fact, it seems that there are several different versions of bamboo phones out there in the internet ether. There is the wind-up bamboo phone which won the 2008 Greener Gadgets design competition, or the Chute Smartphone by Michael Laut. Problem is, there doesn’t seem to be any way to actually buy one of these, though I’m sure it would cost me a good chunk of my month’s rent even I could. But they’re very pretty and sound like they have excellent eco credentials, so if anyone knows how I can get my hands on one please do tell me.
It also turns out that Sony Ericksson are not the only phone manufacturers testing out the eco waters. Nokia, Samsung, and Motorola have all been up to it as well. I particularly recommend taking a look at the Nokia site, if only for an example of a beautiful piece of marketing and presentation. And it does the job: I want one of these phones. A pity that it’s several years old and now appears to be obsolete. At least, no network I can find lists this particular phone, the 3110 Evolve, as being available.
What each of these phones have in common is the use of bioplastics, plastic engineered from plants, such as corn, rather than from petrochemicals. While this is generally a good thing, bioplastics have their own problems too, and are not as clear-cut environmentally friendly as many people would like to think. Perhaps the most obvious of these is the use of what would otherwise be a food crop for constructing technology. Is this ethical given the number of people in the world who don’t have enough to eat?
Either way, the question I asked before has changed slightly. If everyone has the capability to produce mobiles that are at least slightly more environmentally considerate – as a mobile phone goes, anyhow – then why not apply this technology to all phones?