Sun, Nov 10, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Phone cover maker plans to save the environment

By Chen Ping-hung and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A woman holds up an environmentally friendly cellphone cover made from paper pulp in Taipei on Thursday.

Photo: Chen Ping-hung, Taipei Times

With smartphone sales around the world running hot, cellphone covers are also in great demand, though the mercurial tempers and speed with which smartphone users go through covers has caused people concerned about the environment to worry that the plastic covers will further pollute the Earth.

XUAN, a digital product design company in Taiwan, has come up with what it says is the solution to the problem after a year-and-a-half of research — a cellphone cover made from paper pulp that can be recycled.

Company founder Huang Yi-hsuan (黃以萱) said she chose paper pulp solely for environmental reasons, adding that the paper cover did not offer much actual protection for cellphones, though it was, to a certain degree, water resistant.

The cover is made from recycled pulp, is environmentally friendly in that it can be recycled and reproduced, Huang said, adding that the company was thinking about producing a series of souvenir covers, with dates of sports matches and pictures matching the event printed on the cover.

Consumers could either trash the covers, recycle them or keep them as mementos after having athletes sign the covers, Huang said.

Huang said that manufacturers were extremely reluctant to accept orders from her company because of the low number of orders and the complexity involved in making the covers, with factors like basic protection, openings for keypads, earphones and power cords needing to be considered.

Huang said that over 20 manufacturers had refused her before she had found her current manufacturer, which is making a trial production run of the paper covers. She added that her product had been the subject of a report by the Japanese MONO magazine and has applied and received a patent in Taiwan.

Huang added the company is also working with Internet illustrators Bread Tree and Hsiao Peng Mei to provide illustrated covers. She said that though the covers are priced at NT$199 each, she hoped to see the price go down to below NT$100 as a result of increased sales.

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