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The Pela Case is “the world’s first 100% compostable, eco-friendly phone case.” Pela is a company that created a phone case that protects your phone and the planet—taking steps to a waste-free future.
If you are looking for a more eco-friendly and sustainable phone case option, but want to make sure it’ll still get the job done (i.e. protect your phone from drops, tosses, and misadventure), you’ve come to the right place.
Both my wife and I have owned multiple Pela cases over the last few years and been really happy with them. Pela’s sustainability credentials are legitimate, the cases are durable but not bulky, and the variety of designs and styles provide a lot of options.
We’ve put together this Pela Case review to share with you the pros and cons of Pela’s phone cases, answer key questions, and even provide the best eco-friendly phone case alternatives if you are considering going “green” with your phone protection.
About Pela: The Company Behind the Phone Case
Jeremy Lang founded Pela after a family vacation to Hawaii in 2008. He couldn’t help but notice all the plastic pollution on the beaches and in the ocean. Jeremy became motivated to find an alternative to plastic that could be used to make everyday products.
Trials, errors, and years later—along came the Pela Case.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Jeremy on our podcast about sustainable product design and this very origin story.
I love getting to know the business people behind the businesses I’m supporting as well.
Since that original Pela case, the Canadian-based company has grown tremendously and expanded their line of sustainable everyday products (AirPod cases, sunglasses, smartwatch bands, and more).
And, like us here at Grow Ensemble, they are 1% for the Planet members meaning that they donate 1% of their revenues to nonprofits tackling important environmental issues!
Okay, enough about Pela the company right now, let’s talk about their first and most popular product, the Pela Case.
Pela Case Review: Pros, Cons, & Key Questions Answered
- Sustainable—it’s Compostable!
- Purchase supports environmental nonprofits
- Durable & protective
- Plenty of designs & style options
- Grippy, comfortable feel
- Additional phone accessories (if wanted/needed)
- Shipped in minimal, plastic-free packaging
- Screen Protection Guarantee (if you purchase Canopy)
- Price point
- Screen Protection Guarantee requires you purchase Canopy
Both my wife and I have been incredibly satisfied with our Pela Phone Cases. We’ve even recommended them/gifted them to family. They’ve found them great as well—good styles, protective, and an earth-friendly purchase.
At this point, I’ve owned multiple Pela Cases. I’ve never had a phone break or screen crack from a fall (I drop my phone just as much or maybe more than the average).
And, the Pela Cases last as long as the phone is in my possession.
While Pela’s cases are positioned on the higher-end of the sustainable (or conventionally made) phone case market, I see the cost difference as marginal ($10 – $15). While personal preferences might differ, I do think that Pela is the market leader here.
Also, to take advantage of Pela’s “Screen Protection Guarantee,” you need to have purchased and put on both your Pela Case and their liquid screen protector, Canopy.
This Screen Protection Guarantee lasts for 1 year and covers a maximum of $200 for a screen repair (or it can vary based on what Pela Case model you have), and this only covers the front phone screen, no other parts of the phone.
I’ve never had to worry about this, as even without Canopy, my phones with a Pela Case attached haven’t been damaged.
And so, with all that in mind I’m not sure what else you would want in an eco-friendly phone case option…
✅ Protect your phone
✅ Come in a variety of styles & options
✅ Have a great grip without a bulky feel.
✅ Literally compost in your backyard! I threw mine in our bakashi composting operation.
Pela also commits to shipping their cases in minimal, plastic-free packaging. You receive a paper envelope and a note from Jeremy himself. 😉
Let’s go further and cover some key questions as it relates to the Pela Cases.
Also, if you’re wondering what to do with your old phone case (if it’s not a Pela Case), read our post here.
What are Pela Cases Made of?
Pela makes these cases from Flax shive, a plant-based biopolymer. These base materials make up Pela’s “Flaxstic®”, which is composed of “compostable bioplastic elastomer and flax straw materials.”
This Flaxstic® material was dreamt up by founder Jeremy Lang, who I mentioned I had the pleasure of speaking with myself.
It’s this at the base of the cases that make these products 100% compostable—able to be tossed in the backyard compost when you are done with it!
Keeping in mind the numerous environmental benefits of composting, this is pretty incredible.
Not to mention, this proprietary material of Pela’s has been tested to be free of phthalates, BPA, cadmium, and lead. This Flaxstic® is also the reason that Pela cases don’t leave behind a toxic residue when they are **composting. It also provides natural shock absorption for those occasional drops.
Are the Pela Cases Protective?
I’ve found the Pela Cases to provide the exact level of protection necessary for a phone case. Now having used Pela Cases on two of my phones, I’m without any break, crack, or dent.
No one I’ve known or gifted a Pela Case to personally (Grow Ensemble team members, wife, sister-in-law, and mother-in-law) has experienced any protection issues either.
(Knocking on wood now)
Other phone cases I’ve used in the past weren’t designed with enough of a ridge along the edges to prevent your screen from touching the ground with a face-down drop.
Thankfully, the Pela Case is.
And lastly, as I mentioned earlier, an apparent benefit of Pela’s Flaxstic® is added natural shock absorption.
How Long Do Pela Cases Last For?
Pela Cases are designed to last as long as you have your phone! On average, people are keeping their phones for 2-4 years.
I would put the Pela Case’s practical longevity at about 2 years. While it still functioned perfectly fine, at the end of 2 years, my first Pela Case developed a crack in it.
Again, this didn’t affect anything in the case’s performance, but the case will ultimately start to crack and tear in some places from normal wear in tear.
Are Pela Cases Really Compostable?
In short, yes! Pela Cases are in fact really compostable. This again is because of Pela’s Flaxstic® material.
While I didn’t track the days of my Pela Case breaking down in our compost pile, after enough time—I sure never saw it again!
As stated by Pela, their Pela Case is designed to compost completely in under 6 months from the end of it’s useful life.
Pela Case Drop Test
Obviously a key question: is the Pela Case drop proof?
While I’ve yet to conduct a drop test with my Pela Case myself (this might be an update to the post in the future), Pela has conducted one themselves and shared it via video.
From the video it doesn’t appear that the ‘tester’ has added Pela’s liquid screen protector, Canopy, either.
I think what’s most important here is what I shared above, with typical day-to-day drops, slips, and tosses, I’ve yet to have any damage whatsoever to my phones with the Pela phone case.
While in the video Pela tested drops from up to 20 feet, on their website they say that their cases should protect your phone “drops of up to 6 feet.”
Personally, I’m not even 6 feet tall…so it’s quite rare I find an opportunity to drop my phone from greater distances than that. 😅
Pela Case Styles & Designs
There are Pela Cases available to fit iPhones all the way back to the iPhone 5 up until the latest iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
They also fit a variety of Android phones; Samsung Galaxies, Google Pixels, Huawei, and OnePlus models.
There are only three overarching styles of Pela Cases:
Whether you decide to go with a classic, clear, or wallet Pela case, you should be able to find one that fits your particular phone. The newer your phone however, the fewer designs they have available. The older the model of your phone, the more time they’ve had to create designs for it.
Within each style, there are a list of designs and colors to choose from. Let’s cover each.
The (Classic) Pela Case Review
The classic Pela Case design is simple, the case itself is smooth and flexible, but not bulky. It’s cut around your speakers and charging port with raised bumps for volume and lock buttons.
As I like to keep my phone case simple, I choose their classic style with a simple solid color design (black).
Annie opted likewise for the classic style but with their Honey (Bee Edition) Case. There are really endless colors and designs to choose from here!
You can go with a solid color like I did, or find yourself a design that you like, like Annie did. They’ll also sometimes have limited edition cases to draw attention to important causes or issues.
Here are some additional design examples for their iPhone 13 Pro.
(Pictured from Left to Right) – Seashell Color Study, Black Sundown, Green Summit
Price: $49.95 – $59.95 (depending on the design)
*Keep in mind, Pela might adjust prices between when we published this review and when you’re reading it. 🙂
The Pela Clear Case Review
The Pela Clear Case style came long after the original Pela Case. The Clear cases backs are rigid and transparent (unlike the original), but still utilize Pela’s Flaxstic® material for an edge bumper.
That edge is still raised over the front of the screen to protect it during any drops.
Customers all still report an excellent grip with these clear cases (I believe because of the Flaxstic® edge)
There are likewise plenty of different designs for Pela’s Clear cases, you can choose a simple transparent design with the accent of the color around the edges or a more intricate design.
Here are some examples of what you might find for the iPhone 13 Pro:
(Pictured Left to Right) – Clear Sister, Clear Cosmic Wonder, Clear Floral Vines
Price: $54.95 – $59.95
*Keep in mind, Pela might adjust prices between when we published this review and when you’re reading it. 🙂
The Pela Wallet Case Review
The Pela Wallet Case is near the same as the classic style, but there’s a cardholder added to the back that can carry up to 2 cards (an I.D. and credit card).
If you are someone who likes to have a cardholder built on to your phone, then this might be the style to choose from.
Alternatively, if you wanted a different case that didn’t have the cardholder built-in, you could add a cardholder attachment on as we discuss in the accessories section of this post.
At the time of writing this post, there weren’t any Pela Wallet Cases available for the iPhone 13 Pro (my phone), but here are some examples for the iPhone 12 Pro.
From what we could find, they only come in solid colors (like what you see here).
Pela Wallet Case Phones only available in solid colors
Pela Phone Case Accessories
Along with the phone case itself, Pela offers a few different complementary products might you find the need for additional phone protection or versatility while on the go!
Pela Liquid Screen Protector: Canopy
We’ve mentioned Pela’s “Canopy” a few times now (in relation to the Screen Protection Guarantee).
Pela created this zero-waste liquid screen protector because in addition to phone cases, screen protectors are also incredibly wasteful. Apparently, to cut these small specialized pieces of glass, the manufacturers waste 2x the material just trying to make it.
Not to mention, all these screen protectors are wrapped in plastic when bought and they are made specially for a specific phone screen size. This creates massive overproduction issues.
One vial of Pela’s Canopy is enough to protect up to 3 phones. The liquid is easily applied and Pela claims this protection increases a screen’s strength by 10x.
Again, to get Pela’s Screen Protection Guarantee, you’ll need to purchase a Pela Case and the Canopy Screen Protector.
If you want the assurance of more protection and something of insurance with Pela’s guarantee you might want to add Canopy to your order.
Card Holder Phone Case Attachments
If you got a Pela Case style that didn’t have a built-in cardholder and you want to add one, you might want one of these. They’ll apply easily with an adhesive.
They likewise hold 2 cards like the built-in holders and are of course, also compostable.
These cardholders attach to almost any Pela Cases, except for some select sizes where the phones are too small. Make sure to double-check.
Eco Friendly Phone Grips
If you like to have extra grip on your phone, you might want one of Pela’s compostable grips. These aren’t able to be added to phones with cardholders or wallet cases.
They can also over a stand for horizontal viewing on your phone while out and about.
Ethos – Radiation Reduction
If radiation is of concern to you (I attempt to keep my phone out of my front pocket because of this), then you might consider Pela’s Ethos, which is a “radiation reduction tool.”
You simply slip this into the back of your Pela Case and this should redirect up to 80% of any harmful radiation away from your phone.
Price: $14.95 – $29.95
For iPhone 13 classic cases, you can get a MagSafe module that will allow you to use wireless charging and any other MagSafe capabilities.
Price: $4.95 (add on with purchase of iPhone 13 Pela Case model).
Pela Case Alternatives
A Good Company — A Good Mobile Case
Our friends at A Good Company offer another really high-quality mobile case. Their cases are also made from plants, completely compostable, or circular, as you can send your old case back to A Good Company to be recycled into a new one.
Their cases are lean and sleek, and they offer a whole variety of designs. Worth checking out if Pela’s Cases aren’t speaking to you.
If you want a more extensive comparison with Pela, you can read my full review on the A Good Mobile Case.
Check out A Good Mobile Cases at AGood.com.
15:21 Cork Phone Cases
15:21 is a Scandinavian company that makes various everyday products out of natural cork. I’ve also tested one of these cases out myself.
The cases are super slim and offer a simple look. They didn’t offer the ridge protection that a Pela Case does for the front screen, but for the duration I used the case I still didn’t run into any screen cracks or breaks, just scratches.
I do find these another decent sustainable phone case alternative.
Pela Case FAQs
What’s Pela’s Return Policy?
Pela’s offers a 90 day return policy. If you aren’t 100% happy with your purchase, within that time window you are able to do a return or exchange.
Where are Pela Cases Made?
Pela says that their cases are “proudly made in Canada…as well as Hong Kong.” There isn’t much information outside of that on their supply chain.
Until I hear different from Pela, what this typically means is that their products (the Pela Case) are designed in their offices in Canada and manufactured in Hong Kong.
What other Pela Products are there?
Since launching with their classic Pela Phone Case, Pela has since expanded to a variety of other everyday products.
They offer iPad Cases, AirPods cases, various SmartWatch bands (including for Apple Watch), sunglasses, blue light glasses, and AirTag holders.
They are constantly expanding their line of compostable everyday products!
Pela Case: 100% Compostable, Biodegradable Phone Case
I am completely satisfied with my Pela Case.
It’s always a gift to encounter a company and product like theirs when you come across the unexciting, but necessary purchases in life.
Really, who gets excited about a phone case?
Well, normally no one. But with a case like Pela’s, that just might change.
Co-Founder & CEO, Grow Ensemble
Cory is the host of The Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation Podcast, where he’s interviewed well over 150 leaders in the space of better business, social impact, and innovation. Prior to Grow Ensemble, Cory was the CEO of a digital marketing agency, a position he earned at the age of 22. There, he became an expert on all things digital marketing & SEO.
Cory Co-Founded Grow Ensemble (with his partner, Annie Bright) as a vehicle to raise awareness of and inspire action around some of the world’s biggest problems and problem solvers.
He blogs, podcasts, and publishes video on all things leaving the world a better, more just, equitable, and habitable place for all.