Pela Case Review:
The World’s First (Truly)
Eco-Friendly Phone Case
The Pela Case is “the world’s first 100% compostable, eco-friendly phone case.” For me, Pela (and their cases) are the real deal, 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.
We’ve put together this Pela Case review to let you know what you are getting into if you are considering going “green” with your phone protection..
Our Buy Ensemble Rating: The Pela Phone Case
Excellent day-to-day use phone case for your smartphone
Certified B Corporation & a non-toxic, child-safe product
You can literally compost this phone case in your backyard. You kidding?
A bit on the higher end of the market at $40 – $50 a case
Can a Phone Case Love the Planet as Much as it Does my Phone?
New phone? Hooray!
After you so gingerly took your new mobile out of its box I’m sure one of the first things you thought was—I need a case. 😬
If you are anything like me, you may make some internal proclamation that you are of a higher moral decree, you are one of the revered people others call: careful.
“Oh, a phone case? Who? Me? Why would I bother with such a thing?”
“People actually drop their phones?!? Pity…” you say.
Day 1 (or hour 1)
Let’s not let ego get the best of us…
And now, our ego aside, because you are a member of our Buy Ensemble community, you want your purchase to go further.
As the conscious consumer you are, you want much more than a cell phone case that will just protect your phone (your high standards are welcomed here).
You want to use your dollars for a case (and a phone case company) that is good for people and the planet. We all love getting to checkout knowing that there is impact behind our purchase.
Enter: the Pela Case.
I recently had to (begrudgingly) upgrade my phone.
A victim of an abbreviated cell phone lifespan with two massive screen cracks (one incident occurred two days after a screen repair), I knew with my new iPhone 11 Pro, things had to be different.
I was going to have to take the inevitable ails and tragedies of my cell phone’s life more seriously.
My partner, being the wonderfully supportive partner she is, took it upon herself to get me a phone case. Knowing I had experienced my fair share of pain and hurt, she knew I needed support. So attentive.
And, to my absolute delight and surprise, a few days later came my very own Pela phone case (she’s the best, right?).
Considering a Pela Case? Here’s What You Should Think about…
1. Day-to-Day Protection
The object of all phone cases is to protect your phone…duh. But, how much and what kind of protection do you need?
If you’re coming from a heavy-duty case, you may feel like a Pela Case is a skimpy alternative. That might apply even if you’re coming from a bulkier plastic case.
And even though the Pela Case is designed with enough of a ridge along the edges to prevent your screen from touching the ground with a face-down drop, it still feels a little vulnerable (certainly wouldn’t withstand Ron Swanson’s hammer).
Having said that, since I’ve slapped my Pela Case onto my iPhone, I’ve felt comfortable with the level of protection for day-to-day use. Of course, despite a few drops and slips here and there, we haven’t had any disastrous problems.
My case is the Me to We Ripple Effect. I have honestly noticed that I haven’t dropped my phone as much since I upgraded to my Pela Case. I think that’s because the design provides better grip on the phone (there are subtle ridges that provide welcomed texture). That may not be necessary for everyone, but I’ve found it really helpful.
Also, a while back Pela introduced the “Walnut – Extra Protection Hard Shell,” which clips on to an existing Pela case for the added protection in unique circumstances, but from what I read it only works with iPhone 6, 6s, 7, and 8 Pela cases.
Not sure if they’ve continued to offer this option? But its applicability at the moment seems limited.
2. Need Something Waterproof?
Like most phone cases, a Pela Case isn’t going to waterproof your phone.
If you need something with that level of protection, you may have to go with an option like LifeProof™, although from what I understand they aren’t an eco-friendly option, or haven’t explicitly made that claim.
So, obviously we advocate for supporting the company that’s taking care of the planet while taking care of your phone.
3. Add Ons & Accessories
If you’re feeling like a Pela Case may work for you but you want more protection, Pela has a really innovative option we like.
To complete your protection plan, you should check out Pela’s Liquid Screen Protector, “Canopy.”
You read correctly: liquid screen protector. Canopy is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional glass screen protectors. Despite being liquid itself, this won’t waterproof your phone. It provides the same protection as a traditional screen protector with the added bonus of being planet-neutral.
One purchase of the Canopy Screen Protector can be used to protect up to 3 devices, so you’ll get to reduce waste for multiple people, and feel 3 times environmentally responsible!
In addition to eco-friendly screen protection, if you’re thinking you want to make the full transition in your electronic sustainability, Pela also offers compostable AirPod cases that match the reliability and style of their phone cases.
They’ve also come out with sunglasses and cardholders if you’re diving deep into the Pela game.
4. Price Point
This is a reasonable qualm with the Pela Case. These puppies can be pricey.
After purchasing both the case and Canopy, you’ll be in roughly $70 – $80 on your phone’s protection.
Although a “vial” of Canopy is enough to protect 3 devices, it still feels like a steep investment.
Plus side, with each a Pela Case and Canopy applied, you then qualify for Pela’s Screen Protection Guarantee—which means if for whatever reason your screen cracks, Pela will cover the repairs up to $200.
So, you can consider it an $80 insurance policy. Although, I did pay $250 for a screen repair for my Google Pixel last time. 🤔
Pela is doing a lot in the way of sustainability in its industry. As a fellow 1% for the Planet member, Pela donates 1% of all revenue to highly-vetted environmental nonprofits. They also team with countless environmental efforts with their limited edition cases (but we’ll get more into that in a little bit…)
AND like us, they are Climate Neutral Certified.
Pela walks the walk in terms of environmental stewardship. Their products are planet-friendly and completely compostable. If you have a backyard compost operation running, you can literally add your phone case and AirPod case to it when their time has come. That is impressive.
I also really like the concept and practices behind Canopy. Pela reminds us that over 1 billion glass and plastic screen protectors are bought and thrown away every year. Their response to this waste? Change how it’s being done.
The innovation on this front is eye-opening and inspiring. A few things to consider about traditional screen protectors that may make you raise your eyebrows:
- Every screen protector comes in additional plastic packaging (wasteful)
- To make these small pieces of glass, manufacturers are using 2x the material. Just to make them!
- Each protector is made special for each phone size. That means the industry as a whole is overproducing these protectors because they don’t know which phones will be best sellers.
[This is what annual plastic phone case & screen protector waste looks like from a SINGLE retail store. Photo via PelaCase.com]
Turns out, screen protectors are as much of, if not a greater, environmental waste than plastic cases, and you can read more about those from Pela’s site. A percentage of Canopy sales go to ocean cleanup as well, so investing means reducing your own waste, and reducing existing waste.
The Pela Case Buying Experience
So, you, like myself, are impressed by Pela—cases built with both love for the planet and the protection your phone will need. A secure, plastic-free phone case. No-brainer, right?
When you visit Pela’s site, you first select the phone you have to make sure you’re looking at cases that are the right size for you.
Everything from the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max to the iPhone 6, as well as all Android models like the Samsung Galaxy or Google Pixel.
After you choose, you’ll be directed to their collections. This is the fun part of buying your Pela Case. And this isn’t just momentary buyer thrills because you aren’t only choosing a color and design. You’re choosing a cause you’ll get to share with everyone who compliments your new case.
There are a variety of different colors and designs. Pela routinely supports other environmental efforts through collaborations, releasing very cool new styles and limited edition designs.
For example, one purchase of my case, the Me to We Ripple Effect Case, provides to one year of clean water to a person in a community in Kenya. And Pela provides information for you to track where and how that impact is taking place!
You can also support Save the Waves with a purchase of their limited edition case, which gives Save the Waves 5% of every purchase. They also have limited edition Honey Bee cases, Koala cases, and No Planet B cases. The cases and causes are endless.
No matter what your choice is, it’s great to have your phone be a constant reminder of the good guys out there as you go through your day.
Arriving at your door soon after your order, will be your phone case (and/or accessories) along with a note from the CEO, and surprisingly minimal packaging (another intentional, sustainable move on Pela’s part).
You’ll also get an envelope with your package in case you want to send your old Pela Case back to Pela to be recycled or composted!
[This is how you might expect it to arrive — Photo via Pelacase.com]
The Good & Bad of The Planet-Friendly Pela Case
From my experience and research of Pela and other options available in the market right now, here’s what I deem the pros and cons.
Let’s start with the pros.
Eco-Friendly & Sustainable from Start to Finish
Huge, right? As mentioned before, these cases are made compostable, biodegradable, and completely eco-friendly.
They aren’t only made through planet-friendly practices, but they can be disposed of with the same ethos and considerations in mind.
Pela makes these cases from Flax shive, a plant-based biopolymer. These base materials make up Pela’s “Flaxstic®” (dreamt up by founder Jeremy Lang), which is composed of compostable bioplastic elastomer and flax straw materials.”
[Gif via PelaCase.com — *Note* I don’t think the breakdown happens this fast. But it’s still cool. 😎]
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!
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.
And, as mentioned earlier, Pela does their part to ship with the minimal amount of packaging necessary to keep the product secure. They are thinking of everything!
The Gift that Keeps on Giving
As a Climate Neutral Certified company, Pela’s business is completely…you guessed it: carbon neutral. As a member of 1% for the Planet, 1% of their top-line revenue goes to environmental nonprofits and advocacy. I really love all the options customers have to choose their case.
We love giving these cases as gifts because it’s not just an aesthetic decision. It really is about the impact. When Annie surprised me with my case, I loved the design, but we were most excited about what the case meant, and it’s been the first thing we share when people mention my case.
A phone case is a pretty permanent accessory in life for most people, so we want it to match our style and needs. But being able to combine that decision with impact turns something superficial into something meaningful. We like having as much of that in our lives as possible!
All of their collaborations and efforts are just further evidence of Pela’s continuous end-to-end commitment to the planet.
Low Profile Cases
I don’t know about you, but when I’m selecting a new case for my phone, one of my biggest concerns is how much bulk the case will add.
I still want my phone to comfortably fit into my pocket!
Depending on whether you are the type of person who wants a cell phone or a tablet disguised as a cell phone (talking to you iPhone 11 Max Pro users…), just know, the Pela cases aren’t adding a burdensome amount of size to your phone.
They’ve even come out with a super slim case that maintains all the phone and planet protection you need against bumps and scratches.
We Still Care About Aesthetics
I love the design of my case—and after diving deeper into other options, it seems these cases are well-designed across the board.
As well, I enjoy the unexpected benefit of the texture the design adds to my case, so I can keep the thing in my hands when I’m moving around—something I’ve had issues with, with previous plastic cases I’ve bought evident by the cracks I’ve formerly had across my screen.
Not to mention, the cases have been designed with all functionality in mind, no issues with plugging in a charger, headphones, or even supporting wireless charging.
Screen Protection Guarantee
Added benefit if you do decide to go with a Pela case and their zero waste liquid screen protector, Canopy: you become eligible for their screen protection guarantee, which means if you happen to damage your screen while each product is used (the case and Canopy), Pela will cover the repairs up to a cost of $200.
There are some details to be aware of with this guarantee, which I’d check out at Pela’s site, here.
The Pela cases are definitely at the high-end of the phone case market. Of course, if you have the means, this might not cause too much of an issue since the purchase is directing your dollars towards the more sustainable, planet-friendly option, just something to be wary of.
If you get the case alone, you’re looking at a price tag somewhere between $29.95-49.95. But, if you’re in for a protector as well, you’re looking at a total around $60 – $80.
However, if you have ever purchased a case at this level before, like an Otterbox branded case or LifeProof™, this amount isn’t bad at all. And if you are paying the same price anyway, go ahead and skip the traditional plastic!
One option here as well is to split the Canopy. It can protect 3 devices, so find some friends and pool the ca$h.
Screen Protection Guarantee
If your screen is damaged while being protected by a Pela Case and Canopy Liquid Screen Protector, Pela says they will pay for the repair. The caveat here is that they will spring for the repair, but only cover up to $200.
While I do appreciate the guarantee that the folks at Pela offer, I do have questions, especially considering when I had previously cracked my screen it had cost nearly $250.
Obviously the idea is that with both the case and screen protector applied you shouldn’t be concerned with damaging the screen, but provided it does happen, you could still be left with a remaining repair balance to cover.
There is also just the chance that I was completely ripped off for my screen repair…? 🤔
If you are concerned with Pela’s protection, check their drop test video below…
The Eco-Friendly Pela Phone Case: Customer Reviews
It seems it’s not just us that are happy with the Pela Case! Through our research across the web, it seems the majority of Pela users are left more than satisfied!
From Pela’s website…
A 100% Biodegradable Compostable Phone Case: What’s not to love?
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.
Founder & CEO, Grow Ensemble
Cory is the Co-Founder & CEO of Grow Ensemble, as well as the Host of The Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation Podcast. From Washington State, Cory now resides in San Antonio, TX with his brilliant fiancée and their rescue pup. Cory is deeply passionate about using his creative and cognitive capacities for doing good.
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