Every year, 10 million tons of plastic goes into electronic products, very little of which is recycled. Industrial designers at Google are trying to reverse this trend. They’ve been incorporating recycled plastic into their suite of products, including Nest mini speakers and Pixel phones, and this week, they launched a new Pixel phone case with a knitted texture, made from 70% recycled plastic.
Miguel Harry, the lead designer for this case, says the team created the product to last a long time. They picked this jacquard fabric because the texture masks scuffs, grime, and everyday wear and tear. (Google has been making fabric cases since the Pixel 2.) “These cases get a lot of use, so it’s important to be able to keep it clean,” Harry says. The team was also judicious about how much material they used in each case. Two water bottles generated enough plastic to create fabric for five cases.
Sustainability aside, the phone cases are easy on the eyes. The case comes in black, gray, and red, all of which look a little like tweed, with a flecks of other colors mixed in. The interior, meanwhile, is made of a microfiber that helps protect the camera and screen. “We wanted to give the case a cozy feeling,” Harry says. “Like a handmade product that is imperfect, even though it is obviously made by machine.”