The Hong Kong based company bioserie announced that their new line of iPhone 4 covers that are manufactured from plant materials are available for purchase. The company has partnered with Beckers CDF, a Sweden based conglomerate, and will implement that group’s printing technology in order to achieve higher resolution images on the cover design.
In August of last year, we reported on the black and white versions of the covers, and since then the company has made some improvements. Currently, bioserie is offering fourteen different designs, but is hoping to build a customizable option for consumers via the company’s website. There is, however, a bulk-order option for those looking to design an original cover, provided a minimum order of 200 covers are placed.
The new iPhone 4 covers are pricing around $35 from the manufacturer, but are also expected to be in stores later this month. Weighing in at 0.4 ounces, the covers are light and, as previously noted, manufactured using bioplastics and other renewable materials. Bioplastics are derived from sources like corn or soy beans, instead of fossil fuels like traditional plastics. The carbon-footprint of bioplastics is believed to be lower that that of petroleum based materials, but depend on several factors.
In 2006 the Athena Institute released a report detailing the life cycle of five products [pdf] and their environment impact that suggests some bioplastics are more harmful if not properly regulated. Similarly, the Discovery channel wrote an overview of bioplastics last year that suggests the necessary energy and products needed to grow and harvest the crops for production don’t equal the offset of petroleum used in regular plastics. Where a bioplastic product eventually ends is important to note because bioplastics don’t necessarily mean compostable. So even though the product itself is more green friendly on the surface, what it took to produce, and where it eventually ends, might not be.