British scientists seeking to protect the environment have designed a biodegradable mobile phone cover that breaks down in soil when discarded and sprouts a flower from a seed embedded inside the case.
Researchers at the University of Warwick in central England said the novel device, made from a specially designed polymer, is a boon for the environmentally sensitive. Millions of mobile phones are thrown away every year as the industry churns out new models. "It's a real novelty in the phone industry and consumers are happy because they feel they are doing something for the local environment," said Kerry Kirwan from the University of Warwick.
Designers have reassured the wary user that the seed, implanted in a tiny transparent window, only germinates when the phone cover is discarded. "We put sunflower seeds into the prototype covers, but we are working with horticultural researchers to identify which other flowers would perform best. Maybe we could put poppies or roses next time," Kirwan added. He said he hoped the covers would hit the market next year, but did not say how much they might cost.