Best 7 Sustainable Phone Cases

Go green while protecting your screen

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The Rundown
"From a sustainable perspective, we like that both the case and all of its packaging are completely biodegradable."
"All of their cases are 100% compostable and biodegradable."
"The WĀKE case, from Lifeproof, is made from 85% ocean-based recycled plastic."
"The Casetify Custom Compostable is a stylish and strong case that gives you plenty of options to personalize it however you like."
"The Nimble Bottle Case 2 is made from just what you’d think—100% recycled plastic bottles."
"The Organicore, from Incipio, is a stylish phone case in a range of subtle colors."
"The eye-catching look of the iPhone 12 should be seen, not hidden behind a case."

What happens to your phone case once you no longer need it? While we love the style and protection smartphone cases bring to our delicate iPhones and Samsungs, the sad truth is that these plastic and silicone cases often end up in the trash when we no longer need them. If you’re looking to protect the planet, it’s time to consider switching over to a sustainable phone case. Sustainable cases, unlike their predecessors, are made of recycled or organic material and completely break down within months, leaving no pollution behind. They snugly protect your phone just as a traditional case would, but without the plastic.

A large range of sustainable phone cases have come onto the market in the past year, but how can you know which are best—and which are genuinely eco-friendly? We’ve rated the best sustainable phone cases, looking for cases that are biodegradable, stylish, durable, and ergonomic. Here are some of the top cases for your phone, giving you plenty of choices for a product that will look after both your phone and the planet.

Best Overall: URBAN ARMOR GEAR UAG Outback

What We Like
  • Durable, ergonomic design

  • Meets military drop-test standards

  • Both phone and packaging are completely biodegradable

What We Don't Like
  • Exterior can scratch easily

  • Limited color choices

One of the best all-rounders for any phone is the Urban Armor Gear UAG Outback, the first biodegradable series from the brand. From a sustainable perspective, we like that both the case and all of its packaging are completely biodegradable. The case itself is made from a plant-based bioplastic and the packaging is also plastic-free, made from recycled cardboard and soy-based ink. The Outback protects both the environment and your phone, with an ergonomic design that’s both slim and durable—it’s soft to the touch but also meets military-grade drop test protection, ensuring your phone can withstand falls and accidents. You’ve also got a raised bevel to give extra protection to the camera too.

It’s durable enough to protect your phone outdoors or when hiking or playing sports, but it’s also perfect for daily use. We’d like to see the color range expanded to provide more than a handful of subdued choices, but it’s otherwise one of the top sustainable phone cases on the market today.

Best Design: Pela Phone Case

What We Like
  • 100% compostable

  • Beautiful color palette

  • Slim and thin design

What We Don't Like
  • Pale colored cases tend to show dirt easily

  • Can be tricky to clean

We love that the Pela Phone Case is completely environmentally friendly—all of their cases are 100% compostable and biodegradable, meaning they won’t clutter up a landfill once you’re no longer using it. Pela also proves that eco-friendly products can be stylish, with cases offered in a range of aesthetically-pleasing colors and designs, which include special edition wildlife cases to raise funds for nature charities.

The Pela design is slim, easy to grip, and durable. Their cases are made from a material called Flaxstic, composed of flax straw shive and plant-based biopolymers. It also meets government standards for compostability and is free from unwanted chemicals frequently found in plastics, such as BPA and phthalates. With plenty of cool designs and gorgeous colors, you can shop with pride that a portion of your purchase will go to charity, and your phone case is helping the environment. However, we recommend going for a darker-colored case, as some users report that the paler colors tend to stain easily.

“With so many earthy colors and cool designs, plus their varied charity support, the Pela cases are ideal for anyone looking for a slim and stylish case.” — Katie Dundas, Freelance Tech Writer

Best for Google: WĀKE Phone Case

What We Like
  • Made from recycled plastic removed from the ocean

  • Unique wave pattern design

  • Drop-proof to two meters

What We Don't Like
  • Limited colors

  • Pricey

The Google Pixel is known for its innovative design, so it makes sense to pair it with an equally creative phone case. The WĀKE case, from Lifeproof, is made from 85% ocean-based recycled plastic. In keeping with the ocean theme, the case is also designed with a beautiful raised wave pattern on the reverse. It looks stylish, but it also makes the case comfortable to hold and grip. A dollar from each sale goes to an ocean-based non-profit of your choice.

The case is slim and fits snugly onto your Pixel, keeping it safe, thanks to a drop-proof rating of up to two meters. It’s also QI compatible for wireless charging and it’s easy to take it on and off. Currently, there are only two color choices for the Pixel, a black and sea urchin purple. It’s also slightly more expensive than other brands, but this case will appeal to anyone looking to raise awareness of plastic pollution in our oceans, an important issue worldwide.

Most Versatile: Casetify Custom Compostable Phone Case

What We Like
  • Toxic-free and completely composable, from a bamboo-based material

  • Add personalization and select your color

  • Drop-proof up to four feet

What We Don't Like
  • Can be slippery when new

  • Expensive

The Casetify Custom Compostable is a stylish and strong case that gives you plenty of options to personalize it however you like. From a design perspective, you can select the color, add your name or initials, and position the text where you like—it’s a lot of fun and is sure to appeal to the younger crowd. There are plenty of bright colors to choose from too.

The cases themselves are made from a combination of bamboo, cornstarch, and pellet, all organic materials that will break down 100% within a few months after it’s discarded. Even the laser used to customize the cases is free from chemicals and toxins, so you can be confident that your purchase is helping the environment. Plus, the packaging is made from recycled materials. The Custom Compostable will keep your phone secure too, with a drop rating of up to four feet and a one-piece, slim design that you can pop on and off. Bamboo is known for its strength, so it’s a natural choice to include in a phone case. If you’re looking for a versatile case that can match your style, the Casetify Custom Compostable is a great choice, if your budget allows.

Best for iPhone 11: Nimble Bottle Case 2

What We Like
  • Slim case made from recycled plastic bottles

  • Cardholder on the reverse

  • Water-resistant

What We Don't Like
  • Fabric can fray over time

  • Wireless charging won’t work when a credit card is in the holder

Nimble specializes in Apple cases, making it a good choice for your new iPhone 11. The Nimble Bottle Case 2 is made from just what you’d think—100% recycled plastic bottles. No new plastic is used in the case or the packaging, with Nimble pairing up with a range of ocean and coral charities as a way to give back.

The Bottle Case 2 is comfortable to grip, thanks to the slightly textured feel of the fabric. Its hard shell design slips firmly onto your iPhone, guarding against scratches and drops. We also like that the case is water-resistant, if you plan on taking your phone near the pool or beach. Plus, the case allows for wireless charging. If you’re the type who enjoys using your phone as a wallet case, the Bottle Case 2 offers an exterior cardholder that can fit a card and ID. Just note that you’ll need to take the cards out to use the case with a wireless charger. It’s a great contender for your next iPhone case, available in a range of colors inspired by nature.

Best for Samsung: Incipio Organicore for Samsung Galaxy S20

What We Like
  • Plant-based case that will biodegrade after use

  • Organic, natural color scheme

  • Compatible with wireless charging

What We Don't Like
  • Light shades may discolor over time from stains

The Organicore, from Incipio, is a stylish phone case in a range of subtle colors. Their Samsung Galaxy S20 case is not only beautiful and elegant, but it also provides drop protection up to six feet—all in a slim case that only adds about 2mm to the bulk of your phone. Organicore is made from 100% plant-based material and is completely compostable, giving you peace of mind that your phone case won’t contribute to the planet’s pollution problem.

It’s also compatible with wireless charging and offers a raised bezel around your phone’s camera and screen, keeping it protected when your phone is placed facedown. A one year warranty is also included with purchase. The neutral color palette aligns with Organicore’s environmentally-friendly ethos, but note that, like some of the other cases above, light cases may show dirt or stains over time, which can be hard to remove.

Best for iPhone 12: Nimble Disc Case

What We Like
  • Hardshell case made from recycled CDs

  • Clear design doesn’t distract from the look of your iPhone

  • Scratch-resistant and anti-yellowing

What We Don't Like
  • Transparent design allows fingerprints and smudges to be seen

The eye-catching look of the iPhone 12 should be seen, not hidden behind a case. If you need an eco-friendly case that will show off your new phone, but also protect it, check out the Nimble Disc Case. This clear case is made from an innovative method of recycling old CDs—the Disc is literally made from polycarbonate CDs. Ever wondered what happened to your old CDs from the ‘90s?

Polycarbonate is both strong and recyclable, so it’s a useful material to use for a clear phone case. There are a few other notable features found in the Disc though—first, we like that it’s treated with permanent antimicrobial protection, as everyone knows how dirty phone cases can get. It’s also scratch-resistant and treated with UV light to prevent the case from yellowing over time. Your iPhone is protected from drops up to six feet. However, note that this case does tend to show fingerprints.

With any Disc purchase, you get a free shipping label to post them any unwanted CDs for recycling. The Disc is probably the best clear, hardshell case on the market if you’re looking for a sustainable product. 

Final Verdict

If you can only pick one case, we recommend the URBAN ARMOR GEAR UAG Outback. It’s a strong and reliable case that will protect your phone, no matter what you throw at it—plus, it meets stringent drop standards. Otherwise, we encourage you to check out the Pela Phone Case, offering plenty of color and design options. It’s a slim and lightweight case that grips comfortably in your hand.

About Our Trusted Experts

Katie Dundas is a freelance journalist who frequently writes about tech and Apple products and has also covered environmental issues.