When we first saw the concept for the iBamboo speaker, we thought it was the most sustainable solution around for boosting the volume of sound coming from your iPhone. After all, it's just a stick of bamboo, one of the most quickly growing, sustainable wood materials around. The idea was also well loved by consumers, proven by how the Kickstarter project took off in its fundraising efforts. Now, iBamboo is expanding into other materials. Is it still as sustainable?
The creator behind iBamboo is looking into creating a model the same size and even shape as the bamboo version, but made out of recycled plastic. The move is based on consumer requests for a plastic version. Plastic, as we know, is not nearly as sustainable as bamboo, and even the reduced footprint of recycled plastic probably isn't as eco-friendly as a section of bamboo. Still, using recycled plastic has its pros.
iBamboo writes, "A plastic iBamboo would serve a different niche. First of all it would be an active effort to remove plastic, which takes thousands of years to degrade, from our environment. Second, a plastic iBamboo would be more fitting for people that would like to enjoy their music in more extreme conditions, as a plastic version would be more durable, and less prone to damage or defect. It would still have the trademark electricity free design, available in both clear transparent and solid color."
So while this version would have a higher carbon footprint than the bamboo version, it would still be more eco-friendly than many other options out there. It would be neat if the recycled plastics used were sourced from marine debris, in the same fashion as the Electrolux project for vacuum cleaners. However, I'm not sure how economically practical that might be for a consumer product.
Gizmag reports, "The original iBamboo is said to have added a little warmth and character to the audio output from a docked iPhone, making it a good choice for jazz, folk, soft rock and classic music. The new Urban model is a little different." The plastic version will have a "more crisp" sound, which makes it better for music with sharp percussion.
At the moment iBamboo Urban is in prototyping, but will go on sale for around $30 when it comes out. iBamboo, meanwhile, is looking for consumer feedback should you have any to give. Of course, the bamboo version will still be available, so perhaps you'll want one of each so you can switch off depending on the type of music you're playing and sound quality you wish to have.