As part of #Plasticfreejuly , we’re introducing you to the most exciting startups that are making a positive impact on reducing plastic. Today: Sustainable cell phone cases from kepu
Clock, telephone, carrier pigeon, diary, newspaper, TV… Nowadays, almost all of us depend on our smartphone and can hardly imagine a world without it. However, since this much-used everyday object leaves a large ecological footprint, we should handle it carefully and protect it sustainably. A cover not only gives our daily companion a cool look, but also ensures that we can use it undamaged for a long time.
The start-up kepu has dealt with exactly this issue and thought the whole thing through even further.
Unique, protective and earth-friendly
Kepu offers a colorful selection of sustainable and vegan phone cases. The three key words here are: unique, protective and earth-friendly. The team of the start-up consists of Carmen, Vinzenz, Julian, Lisa, Andre and Loretta, who want to make the world a little bit more sustainable from their office in Darmstadt.
Designed by nature
If you look at the kepu website, you will quickly come across the word “Sprinkles”. These so-called sprinkles give kepu’s sleeves their interesting design. These are residual materials from food production. The kepu team thus collects the leftovers of various food sectors, dries and crushes them, thus obtaining “a perfect texture” (kepu website) for the casings. However, these sprinkles not only look cool, but also support the protective property. Thus, kepu follows the motto “waste to value” with the use of food scraps.
Sustainable cell phone cases made from coffee, wine and beer
Here you have the choice between four different Sprinkles varieties. For the coffee lovers among you, Coffee Break is the perfect choice. The beans for the coffee you drink are covered by a shell. This is removed before roasting and is therefore no longer used in coffee production. Kepu, on the other hand, gives this “waste” a function and uses the dried shells as sprinkles.
If you like it sweet, the Sweet Candies Sprinkles are probably just the thing. These are residues from sugar beets. These dried sugar beet pulp come from local producers in the region.
The Forbidden Fruits Sprinkles appeal to the wine lovers among you. In this process, the pomace, i.e. the solid components left over from the production of wine and juice from grapes and apples, is utilized. The apple pomace comes from apples grown in Julian’s father’s garden. And Carmen grew up on a winery from which the grape marc is sourced. Thus, according to Carmen, “there is a little piece of home in the shell.”
Beer also leaves behind food residues. The basis for beer is malted grain, which is heated with water. This allows the starch to be extracted and later turn into alcohol. In this process, so-called spent grains remain. This serves kepu as a best of grain sprinkles. Although this spent grain is also used as a food additive for humans and animals. However, breweries produce much more than is used in the food sector, leaving more than enough for kepu. The spent grains also come from a local brewery.
What colors do the sleeves have then?
The sprinkles are not the main component of the sleeves, but a sustainable and bio-based base material. Thus, the sprinkles are just small sprinkles that have rather neutral colors. However, the base material of the sleeves comes in many different bright beautiful colors.
So you are spoiled for choice: whether yellow, blue, green, turquoise, red, rosé …
If you need help with the selection, the configurator will help you choose the cover according to your preferences.
It doesn't get more sustainable than this: The compostable cell phone case
The special thing about kepu: The covers for your smartphone are completely compostable. If you don’t want to sell the cover on a second-hand platform, you can simply compost it at home. For more details on composting bioplastics, visit kepu’s blog and FAQs .
There is also the option to then return the cover to kepu. Kepu can then make new shells from it again and the circle is closed.
Sprinkles - The organic residues
To understand why the sleeves can be easily composted, you should learn a little more about the material of the sleeves at this point. It is obvious that the sprinkles, i.e. the food scraps as organic residues are well compostable. But what about all the material as a whole? The material of the sleeves “is a specially developed, ecologically sustainable formula.” It consists of organic substances and to a small extent of natural minerals. In this case, the organic substances consist, on the one hand, of a base biopolymer that holds everything together and, on the other hand, of the organic residues already mentioned, “which give the cover its unique and soft texture as well as the necessary strength to protect your phone”(kepu website). But that was not all about the material: “The base biopolymer is DIN certified for a “50% – 85% bio-based carbon content” and the organic residues are 100% bio-based. The minerals are of natural origin and are basically stone dust” (kepu website). Thus, all components of the case are compostable and so, of course, the whole phone case.
The luminous color pigments are partly natural and partly synthetic pigments. But they are all non-toxic, so they are compostable. In addition, kepu always wants to work on increasing the bio-based content in the material.
The sustainable cape for your iPhone
“Kepu means “cloak” in Japanese pronunciation “(kepu website). The cases from kepu ensure the protection of your phone against drop damage and scratches – like a cape. After all, you want your smartphone to live as long as possible so that it doesn’t need any more resources.
What makes kepu special?
What makes kepu unique is that all development and production takes place in Germany. So you could talk about a regional cell phone case that doesn’t have long transportation routes ahead of it. Due to the production in Germany, a cooperation with small, family-run local companies can take place. The development of the material as well as the production of the prototypes takes place directly on site at kepu’s office in Darmstadt. A few kilometers away from the kepu office, the sleeves are mass-produced by a partner.
Furthermore, production in Germany means that the sleeves are manufactured under the highest quality, environmental and safety standards. Furthermore, all ingredients and thus the casings are vegan. Since the Sprinkles are a natural product, each cover is therefore a little unique.
Environmental impact compensation for your smartphone
Our smartphone leaves a large ecological footprint. Your phone already exists and the damage is already done. Kepu addresses this issue by offering an environmental impact offset for your phone. The “Environmental Impact Compensation Package aims to mitigate the consequences of using a cell phone.” This package consists of CO2 compensation with naturefund and a donation to the E-Waste Relief Foundation. This way you can compensate the environmental and social impact of your cell phone. You can find out more here .
How else is kepu committed to the environment and sustainability?
Kepu not only recycles food scraps and provides a biodegradable cell phone cover, but also offers CO2 (over)compensated products. Kepu thus cares about offsetting the entire footprint of its phone cases (from production to recycling). Additionally, 1% of sales will be donated to the following charitable and sustainable projects. First, the donations will go to the E-Waste Relief Foundation, which works to “address the e-waste crisis in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.” This is to support the creation of environmentally friendly e-waste initiatives. On the other hand, the donations go to Naturefund, which works to restore valuable habitats worldwide and advocates for their protection. For example, Naturefund plants trees in Costa Rica. In addition, kepu is planning to work on other fundraising projects.
Furthermore, kepu ensures that the footprint of the office in Darmstadt is offset. CO2-neutral web hosting for the website, as well as CO2-neutral shipping is also provided. For example, the packaging is made of 100% recycled cardboard.
Are there more models to come?
Yes – be patient a little longer! Since kepu is still in its infancy, they currently only offer cases for the most popular iPhones. But they don’t want it to stop there, so they are gradually planning to work on cases for other phone models and on additional products.