Let's face it: we're obsessed with mobile technology. Smart phones give us access to the internet while on a road trip, and tablets make it possible to watch our favorite basketball team while suffering through an airport layover.
Although the price of these technologies is dropping every day, it still isn't cheap, especially if you're toting the latest and greatest Apple product. So protection from drops, spills, and scratches is essential.
Being the green geeks that we are, it was important to find protective cases and covers that were kind to the environment as well as our mobile devices. We've done the homework so you don't have to, and our top 5 choices are below! (If you think we missed one, please share it in the comments!)
1. AQUA TEK S (pictured above)
Being based in Colorado, we spend a fair share of our time enjoying the great outdoors. Hiking, camping, kayaking, mountain biking--these are all great ways to relax and burn some calories--but they're not exactly an appropriate place for a delicate piece of mobile technology. If you're tired of leaving your phone (and all its GPS capabilities) in the car, the AQUA TEK S is the case for you. Brought to life by overwhelming support on Kickstarter, this case is the first ever battery powered, solar charged, rugged under water iPhone 4/4S case made with technology enthusiast and adrenaline junkies in mind. The built-in solar panel gives your battery a boost when you're far from an outlet, it's waterproof up to 20 feet, and the outer shell is made from tough Poly-carbonate materials with rubber grips for added protection.
2. E-Pouch & Ecoskin
OK, so maybe you're not an "adrenaline junkie." Maybe you're just looking for something that will keep your smart phone safe from keys, water bottles, and all the other stuff that's jangling around in your purse or backpack. The complete, low-key line of eco-friendly protective accessories from Anokimobi might be right up your alley. The e-pouch style (pictured above) is constructed from a combination of organic and naturally biodegradable materials; the vibrant fabric dyes are GOTS regulated and all the print designs use water-based, biodegradable inks. All packaging is made from 100% recycled paper. If you prefer a sleeker, healthier look, the Ecoskin line is the only recycled/recyclable mobile phone skin to be impregnated with silver ions to reduce harmful bacteria levels on the phone
3. Spark Solar Tablet Case
The iPad is one of the most popular gadget in the world. It's also one of the most power hungry, and we know that batteries always choose to fail at the moment when you need them most. Thanks to the new Spark Solar tablet case from Voltaic Systems, however, you can have power, video, and access to the interwebs no matter where you go. The four solar panels built into this protective carrying case are capable of cranking out up to 8 watts of power, enough to provide one hour of video playback on an iPad for every hour the case spends in direct sunlight. In addition to the iPad, the Spark Solar Tablet Case is also capable of charging other tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy Tablet, the Blackberry Playbook and the T-Mobile G-Slate.
There's no denying that a case that both protects and charges your tablet is super cool. But lots of people buy the iPad because of it's minimalist look and feel, and carrying around a small solar power plant is going to add a lot of weight and bulk. If you're fine with being tethered to an outlet as long as your screen stays free of dings and smudges, this handmade sleeve from Grove. Constructed in from thick premium wool felt imported from Germany the sleeve also features a natural, hand-oiled bamboo veneer for added protection.
So far we've talked about protective cases made from lots of sustainable things: biodegradable materials, non-toxic ink, bamboo, wool...but it's hard to argue with the eco-friendliness of a product that's literally made from trash. The case is made out of an architectural grade plastic called POLLI-BER, that the company developed. Polli-ber is a trash composite made with processed organic rice husk and post-consumer thermoplastics from used car bumpers, CD containers, bottle caps, etc. As Becky Striepe of greenUPGRADER reports, "The case fit my phone nicely, though I wish that it also protected the phone's face...and there's room in the case to insert your refillable transit card, though I guess if you have one of those tap and spend credit cards, you could use that, too."