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Sleek, Sustainable Mobile Accessories Tackle World's E-Waste Problem

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These days, mobile phone chargers and cables can be picked up at just about any drug store or gas station. But these products can be cheaply made, come in unnecessary plastic packaging, and certainly add to world's toxic and growing electronic waste, or e-waste, problem

With that in mind, Nimble has launched a line of sustainably made mobile accessories that include wireless charging pads, stands and travel kits.


The devices have features such as plant-based bioplastic, 100 percent organic hemp, recycled PET from plastic bottles and recyclable aluminum, as well as USB cables that are BPA- and PVC-free.

Instead of using paint or toxic adhesives, they're speckled with natural mineral crystals to create a unique design. They also come packaged in 100 percent recycled scrap paper with no inks, adhesives or dyes, making them completely compostable.

The battery cells themselves are made of standard lithium-ion, which are non-biodegradable, of course. But to make up for that, the startup has a One-for-One Tech Recovery Project that aims to recycle one pound of e-waste for every product sold. Each gadget comes with a recyclable bag that you can stuff with any old and unwanted phones, tablets and other electronics you have lying around. You then print out a free-shipping label from the Nimble website and send it directly to their e-waste recycling partner, Homeboy Electronics Recycling in Los Angeles, for proper reclamation.

Nimble aims to be e-waste neutral by 2022 through recovery of an equal amount of e-waste as it adds in new items to their line.

The three founders, Ross Howe, Jon Bradley and Kevin Malinowski, are all ex-employees of the mobile accessory maker Mophie.

"We all came from the consumer electronics industry and we realized that that business model is really broken," Howe, the CEO of Nimble, said in a company video, adding that typical packaging for phone accessories are not only unrecyclable, it also adds $8-10 dollars to the item.

Wired noted that Nimble's pricing is competitive—more expensive than the budget stuff, but cheaper than big-name brands. Nimble's products won't be sold at traditional retail shops, which cuts prices even more.

Their least expensive option is the $40 wireless pad that can power all the latest iPhones at 7.5 watts and other smartphones at up to 10 watts. The portable chargers are available at 10K, 13K, 20K and 26K mAh capacities and range from $50 to $100.

The devices can be purchased directly on their website and on Amazon in the coming days. It ships straight from their facility in Orange County, California. At this time, Nimble only ships to addresses in the U.S.

"We believe people should know how their products are made, where they come from and what the impact is on the world," said Howe in a press release. "Simply put, we make great personal tech products, more thoughtfully."

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