Urbanears shows we need more products made from waste
NOTICE: This week, Urbanears unveiled a new product and stage change. True Wireless Boo and Boo Tip feature a word that is often used to scare people, and truth be told, the issue the earphones highlight is scary.
Climate change has been one of many topics on people’s minds over the past year, and despite the Cop26 conference making (figurative) waves, many months later it doesn’t seem that there was or was enough action behind the positive-sounding words and motions that officials were making.
I wrote at the time about what tech companies had done to mirror climate change quite literal, and since then Trusted Reviews has taken its own stance on the subject as well, hoping to shed more light on the sustainable practices.
It is therefore with hope that companies are showing urgency by tackling their own processes and challenging their designers to think differently, and we have seen products over the year that carry this philosophy.
One of the things that comes to mind is that most of these shifts in approach are to higher priced products. It’s easy for Apple and Bang & Olufsen to brag about sustainable practices when selling products in the region of thousands of pounds. These are the affordable products where these changes are likely to be most felt, given that they make up the bulk of the products people buy.
At £69, the Boo and Boo Tip match that discount and are made from pretty literal waste – recycled plastic and scrap. Reusing this type of waste that would likely be on a barge to be dumped in a distant destination is, I think, the key to making a dent. Urbanears aren’t the first, House of Marley has been doing it for a while, but more is needed.
Of course, it would help companies less of products and extend product life cycles, but we see more of the latter. Sony’s portable music players have always had a hidden option in their menus to only charge to 80% to conserve battery and extend product life, as have headphones from Adidas and Urbanears – two brands that operate within the expertise of Zound Industries.
And with models like the WF-1000XM4 using recycled newsprint pulp for packaging and Sony going even further by using recycled materials to manufacture the LinkBuds, these are the forward-thinking approaches we need. Waste is king and ironically we should be using a lot more of it.
In another Sound and Vision column, I mentioned headphone brands taking a different approach to design and headphones seem to be a ripe market for this innovation. A good example is Urbanista’s Los Angeles headset which can absorb sunlight to charge its battery, which certainly comes in handy in these times of rising electricity bills.
There’s more that can be done, but it looks like the headphone market is at least starting to move in a direction with some purpose. Don’t waste, don’t want is the proverb to adhere to in this time of energy crisis and climate change. Hopefully 2022 will see words backed by real action.