A More Sustainable Smartphone?

I love my smartphone, and sometimes I feel like I couldn’t live without it.  From looking up maps when I’m a bit lost, to blogging, tweeting, and accessing Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram on the go, I’m pretty much an addict.

My smartphone isn’t particularly environmentally friendly – it’s less than two years old and already has severe battery life problems.  My other half and I were recently discussing planned obsolence, particularly with regards to smartphones.  We felt that the manufacturers wanted us to buy a new phone at least every two years, and so were designing them to slowly break close to the two year point.  Then I found this Huffington Post article which really hit the nail on the head.

I didn’t think there was, or would ever be, such a thing as a sustainable smartphone, but in the last couple of weeks I came across the idea of Phonebloks.  Phonebloks is a phone that doesn’t require complete replacement if one element of your phone stops working or wears out.  Instead you replace a block that houses the particular component that’s worn out, much like Lego I guess:

phonebloks sustainable smartphone

As the phone’s individual functions seem to work more like customisable apps you can even customise your phone.  You could, for example, remove some of the storage to make room for a bigger battery, or remove some functions you don’t need for bigger speakers, depending on how you use your phone.

phoneblok smartphone

There’s a video on YouTube which explains more about it here.

I got quite excited by the idea.  Of course Phonebloks will still create waste, but should in theory generate lesser volumes of waste over a longer period of time.  And it would hopefully be more sustainable than disposing of a whole phone every time one aspect of your phone gives up, like your battery.

At the moment Phonebloks is just a concept.  If you like the idea you can support the idea on Thunderclap, and support Dave Hakkens, the developer, on Twitter and Facebook.

What do you think?  Woud you use Phonebloks?  There are lots of posts on the internet about why people don’t think Phoneblok will work.  Personally I think anything which challenges the idea that people should have to upgrade their phone every two years should be welcomed, but I’d love to hear your thoughts too.


Main image from here, all other courtesy of Phonebloks.

men's ethical work wear

Men’s Ethical Clothing: Workwear

men's ethical work wear

Continuing with the theme of ethical office wear, I’ve put together my picks for ethical men’s clothes for the office.

As always, the men’s ethical clothing market is smaller than the ladies market, so it has been a bit tricky hunting things down, but hopefully I’ve come up with some of the best pieces available:

mens ethical clothing

1.  This grey People Tree blazer (£135) is smart and ethically made.  There are no matching trousers available, which is a bit of a pain, but fine if you’re just looking for a smart jacket.  It’s important to note that the buttons are made from cow’s horn so it’s not vegan friendly, which can be an issue for some.

2.  Again, from People Tree, these black Ewan trousers (£80) are the smartest ethical trousers I’ve found.  There’s no matching jacket to match it though, but if you’re just looking for a pair of black trousers for the office then these are the ones.  If you sign up for the People Tree newsletter you get 10% off your first order (a healthy £8 on these trousers), and you also get free delivery on them too.

3.  I tried to find some men’s ethical bags for this post, but I drew a complete blank.  Instead here’s a super sustainable cork laptop case* (£24.95) from Nigel’s Eco Store, for carrying your laptop safely.  Here’s a post I wrote on why cork is so sustainable in case you missed it.

4.  Arthur & Henry make some of the only ethical shirts on the market, and they look smart to boot.  This herringbone shirt is £65 but will always be in style.

5.  These vegan shoes from No Harm (£199.99) are very expensive but the best looking ethical shoes I found.  I found some other ethical shoes from another company which were £80 (which I’d still class as expensive) that looked like £7 ones, and not in a good way.  A cheaper alternative would be to buy secondhand shoes on eBay, if you don’t mind the idea of wearing secondhand shoes that is.


men's smart ethical clothing

1.  This People Tree navy blazer (£135) featured in the main image is the same as the grey one, above, just in a different colourway.  No matching trousers for these ones either am afraid, and still the horn buttons, but a smart jacket for the office if you’re not a vegan.

2.  These Komodo chinos* (£48.15, reduced from £75) would be smart enough for the office, but comfortable enough to wear at weekends and off days too.

3.  Some Elvis & Kresse cufflinks (£36) made from decommissioned UK fire hoses add a quirky element to your office attire.  Also available in black, blue and yellow.

4.  Likewise, this Elvis & Kresse cardholder (£40) is a fun way to carry your travelcard or bank cards.

5.  I’ve featured this Komodo jumper* (£65) before, in my autumnal men’s ethical clothing post, but it’s again one of those timeless pieces that can be worn at work or for leisure.

6.  Another Arthur & Henry shirt (£79).  There are more colours available than blue, including yellows and pinks, but I have to say I am a fan of the classic blue shirt.

As far as ethical suits, despite extensive searching I haven’t been able to find any ethical men’s suits in the UK.  There are some available in the States for several thousand dollars – that’s before you pay postage and import duty – which doesn’t seem the best.  If  you’re spending a lot of money on a suit should then I think it should be an investment piece tailored to fit.  Therefore I think the best option might be to find a good local tailor/suit maker and get one made to measure using ethical fabrics.  Harris tweed is handmade in Scotland and would make a great suit fabric, while Fairtrade Fabric and Organic Cotton both sell certified fairtrade fabric by the metre.  Your tailor will be able to advise which fabrics they recommend for your budget.  Otherwise eBay or charity shops if you just want an off the peg suit.

Similarly, ties.  I could not find any ethical ties anywhere.  I found plenty handmade ones, but no-one of them appeared to be made with ethically sourced fabrics.  Your best bet is again eBay or charity shops for cheap ethical ties.

If you have come across any men’s ethical suits, ties or bags then do let me in the comments below and I’ll add them to this post!


* Denotes the use of affiliate links – see my disclosure policy for more information on this.