Gallery: The Biodegradable Grass Cell Phone


Hay may be for horses, but it makes a pretty great mobile phone material as well. Appearing for all the world like a brick of sod outfitted with a keypad, Je-Hyun Kim’s Natural Year Phone concept carefully considers the life cycle of cellular phones, which are all too frequently disposed of due to obsolescence and the constant cycling of two-year contracts. Designed to last only for the length of its functional life cycle, the grassy green phone biodegrades and pieces apart for easy recycling after two years are up.

As the effects our conspicuous consumption become more and more evident, we’re happy to see designers taking product life cycles into account. Not all products need to be designed to last forever, especially those that are exercises in planned obsolescence from the start.

Fortunately, more and more manufacturers are now using recycled materials and offering e-waste recycling via mail, however Je-Hyun Kim decided to cut out the middle man and design a phone that automatically biodegrades as it reaches the end of its functional life. Once the grassy casing has dissolved, the screen and soft keys can be easily recycled and integrated into a new phone. It probably won’t survive a dunk in the sink, but then I’ve never known a phone that would.

Via Yanko Design


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  1. beachgirl81 June 21, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Haha, I like it … the iSod. I don’t think this is real either.

  2. dingo January 31, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    I’m sorry to say this but, I’m pretty sure that’s fake. I think this because there is no mechanics in the broken phone picture. So can someone show me a real picture of it? or is it fake?

  3. primitiveheart January 26, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    Jeez, people this is just a joke. Its meant to make you think.

  4. chrisp68 January 9, 2009 at 11:22 am

    iSod… that’s great. How about the Hemp Handy.

  5. emaug January 9, 2009 at 3:30 am

    I’m pretty sure this is just a prototype… Look at the buttons, they’re either photoshopped or stickers and there isn’t anything on the inside of the phone or even a real slide mechanism. Give the thing a chance guys…. why are you all such buzzkillingtons?

  6. vonkie January 8, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    lost again: This is the point of the article, the concept of “planned obsolescence”. It’s a concept which both drives and constricts designers. Planned obsolescence is the concept of designing a product with the intention of it becoming obsolete within a specific period of time. This is the way companies make money, this article touches on the responsible use of planned obsolescence, of course you could make a cell phone more durable, you can design special covers for it (which exist) but how do you design a phone with a useful life cycle of only two years in a responsible manner. Of course this idea is merely a concept but it creates awareness.

  7. sprintermatt January 8, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    what to call it:

    the iSod.

  8. hoffboom January 8, 2009 at 4:59 am

    The real sustainable cell phone is to use the one you currently have, and DON’T LOSE IT.
    Register your phone on to help secure your energy intensive and valuable phone, its contact info, pics, and other personal info.
    There’s more info in the site, check it out!

  9. novabass January 7, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    Is this even a real product – you know, one that somebody could actually purchase? Um, didn’t think so…and somehow I don’t think it will ever be actually produced.

    Not to mention – It’s ugly and will fall apart in a few days – there’s no way this would last a year.

    Question: Why would anyone use grass for this application and not bamboo? In fact, why isn’t bamboo being used for everything from laptop shells to toothbrushes? I’m just sayin…

  10. chrisp68 January 7, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    So at year 1.5 can you break off a piece and smoke it? Come on! Just use oil free biodegradable plastic. They already make utensils out of it.

  11. lost again January 7, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    It would be far more durable if they created a special phone cover for it, then it would last much longer, and you could easily reuse the cell phone cover/case.

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