A\J Web Editor Laura's iPhone 4 PELA case - and the one that could be yours!

Open Mind Developments Corporation (OMD) is reimagining conventional plastic as flaxstic. Flaxstic mixes flax fibre and shive from flax straw (an agricultural waste product) with biopolymers made from renewable non-food crops. OMD is making a biodegradable and compostable smartphone case from the material.

Both the flax and biopolymers make flaxstic less impactful than conventional plastics. The lightweight and shock absorbent flax is already grown in Saskatchewan for its oilseed, while biopolymers generate 60 per cent less CO2 emissions than traditional polymers and require about 50 per cent less non-renewable energy to produce.

OMD is based out of Saskatchewan and provides farmers with an outlet for their waste, along with creating local manufacturing and processing opportunities. Some of their proceeds also fund the research and development of other ecological plastic alternatives. Their project is partially supported by the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program as well as the Saskatchewan Agri-Value Initiative, and is delivered by the Agriculture Council of Saskatchewan.

The PELA Case for the 4/4S and iPhone 5 don’t look like conventional plastic. As put by OMD, “it isn’t conventional plastic, and that’s the point.” The idea is to reframe the public perception of eco-friendly plastic and promote its integration into the market place.

According to OMD, the average consumer keeps their smartphone about 16 months – leaving the discarded technologies, and their cases, to pollute landfills for thousands of years. OMD saw a problem in need of a smart solution. Check out this review of PELA’s iPhone 4 case.

Of course, we still have to contend with the ecological and ethical shortcomings of the iPhone (and all smartphones) itself, but less oil-based plastic in the world is a good thing.

Flaxtic is currently being used for solid plastic products and OMD is planning on expanding into foam and hollow plastic products.

As flaxtic fans, A\J wanted to share the PELA story and give readers a chance to win an iPhone 5 PELA case. Share this post on Facebook or tweet it to us @AlternativesJ by February 28 to be entered in the draw. (Make sure you mention us when you do so we can enter your name!)

Julie is a full-time editorial intern at A\J. As a recent UW graduate with a double major in ERS and Geography & Environmental Management she is looking to promote active modes of transportation and other sustainable urban planning practices.

Julie is an urban planning graduate student at the University of Waterloo, focusing on sustainable transportation.

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