Technological innovation is here to stay. With it comes the struggle to control e-waste and its assault on the environment. So the three co-founders of Nimble for Good, PBC have combined their extensive experience in the tech, marketing and design development industries to launch a brand of personal tech products committed to ethical and sustainable material sourcing, manufacturing and post-consumer disposal.
How it all started
The concept is simple, really — develop and use products made from recycled materials to divert waste from the landfill, be transparent as a business and give customers an easy way to support those efforts with eco-friendly products they use every day.
With a strong background in the industry and a quick $2.5 million from investors as a startup just two years ago, Nimble wasted no time jumping into the tech market with the Bottle Case — a cell phone case made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles. With the sale of each case, the company donated “5% to those working to protect the planet’s oceans and marine life.” In alignment with the company’s mission to reduce pollution through material collection and post-consumer recycling, the Bottle Case was a stand-out release that set the stage for a variety of other products.
CEO Ross Howe summarized the vision by saying, “Our oceans are drowning in plastic. We’re not interested in creating new plastic to make phone cases. Virtually all phone cases made today require production of virgin materials, while there’s an overwhelming abundance of plastic material already in the ecosystem. We want to keep existing plastic in the economy and out of our oceans and landfills.”
Nimble’s phone accessories
The newest product from the team, supervised by co-founders Howe, Kevin Malinowski, head of marketing, and John Bradley, head of creative, is simply named the Disc Case. This is the first protective case for iPhones that is made from 100% recycled compact discs. The process involves collecting the CDs, cleaning them and using the polycarbonate components for the phone cases. Using recycled materials eliminates the need for virgin plastics, but the phone cases are also recyclable when they are no longer usable.
“Think about how many CDs, DVDs, and software discs are no longer being used,” Howe said. “Facing obsolescence, most go to landfills or incineration, creating a massive stream of toxic waste and pollution. We’re continuing to demonstrate how recycled materials in new products are essential to achieve a more sustainable future.”
Nimble also manufactures portable chargers with an interior composed of hard, plant-based plastics made from materials like corn and sugarcane. The devices also incorporate recycled aluminum and the natural mineral crystal, mica, which provides the non-slip exterior. Other similarly earth-conscious products include wireless chargers and fast-charge kits.
All products come with a biodegradable bag and prepaid mail-in label that makes it easy to participate in the company’s e-waste recycling program, One-for-One Tech Recovery Project. All devices, phone cases, cables and cell phones are shipped directly to an e-waste recycling partner for proper disassembly and recycling. According to the company website, “Since Aug 2018, we’ve collected over 3,000 lbs. of e-waste, phone cases and compact discs from our customers for proper reclamation by Homeboy Electronics Recycling and other partners.”
Sustainable shipping, packaging and partnerships
The team is equally focused on minimizing Nimble’s impact from shipping and manufacturing as they continue to explore material options such as recycled plastic, organic hemp, recycled aluminum, bioplastic and more. Each product is shipped using 100% plastic-free options, like recycled scrap paper, and leaves out harmful inks or dyes. Every shipping package is fully recyclable and biodegradable.
Not everything in business can be controlled in-house, so when Nimble relies on suppliers, they must agree to conform to the Supplier Code of Conduct. This means all suppliers are evaluated and verified in order to ensure that they share Nimble’s values regarding workers’ rights, sustainable materials and minimal environmental impact.
In further highlighting its dedication to corporate responsibility, Nimble is one of around 3,600 Certified B Corporations in the world, meaning it meets the highest standards of human and environmental considerations. In addition, Nimble is dedicated to donating at least 1% of annual sales to environmental nonprofit organizations as a member of 1% for the Planet. Nimble has also partnered with Verizon Wireless as part of the telecommunication company’s initiative to offer more eco-friendly options to its customers.
Images via Nimble