In 2021, more people are waking up to fast fashion and a “throwaway culture” taking its toll on the environment. Part of this problem comes from some of the watch industry, which in recent years has been troubled by claims of using unsustainable practices and materials. One of the biggest offenders? Smartwatches.

How Sustainable are Smart Watches?

The displays and batteries of smartwatches are often made of rare earth minerals – and that’s not to mention the pollution and resource depletion of extracting these minerals. Then brands charge extortionate prices to “fix” any faulty parts, so it becomes cheaper to simply buy a new watch. The result is a lot of electronic waste – what’s known as “e-waste”. E-waste is becoming a big problem. According to the UN, out of 50 million tonnes of electronic waste created every year, only 20% is recycled.

The problem is that for all of that waste and detriment to the environment, smartwatches don’t actually last that long. Even Apple, one of the biggest and most advanced manufacturers of smartwatches, estimates their watches only have three years of use.

What’s the Eco-Friendly Alternative to Smart Watches?

Compare that to a quartz watch, for example. Quartz watches haven’t changed much in style or mechanism in nearly a century.

If you didn’t know, quartz watches work in a very interesting way. In very simple terms, a battery produces a current that causes the quartz to vibrate at precisely 32768 times a second which turns into one electric pulse. This pulse powers a tiny electric motor and the energy from that pulses into mechanical energy which turns the gear in the watch, and turns the hands.

Quartz is used in watches because it’s very durable and long-lasting, and at least 100 times more accurate than previous mechanisms. Plus, quartz is an extremely common material, unlike those used in smartwatches. It’s old-school technology, first used in 1928, but it has endured and is showing no sign of stopping.

Making the Sustainable Choice: Traditional Watches

In opposition to smartwatches, high-quality traditional watches last for many years and the style doesn’t become outdated. They actually tend to become more stylish and treasured over the years.

From a fashion standpoint, the appeal of choosing traditional watches over smartwatches represents going against the grain of fast fashion’s ever-changing trends.

The most eco-friendly choice you can make is to ensure items last longer. Traditional watches are built to last – in fact, to outlast their owner. Think of how many families pass watches down their family line as heirlooms.

But there’s still one problem: watch straps.

Most watches come with poor quality straps made with cheap labor and using harmful materials to the environment, animals, humans and their manufacturers. They’re either made of low-quality metal, rubbers, plastics – or from leather, which isn’t ideal for vegans.

But companies are making moves to change this, without compromising on style.

Meet Wooden Watches

If you don’t already, you need to know about wooden watches. The casing and wristband are made from wood, which is excellent for the planet – and offers a unique twist on a classic accessory.

Wooden watches are better for the planet because wood is a renewable resource whereas metals are not. In fact, research suggests that primary metal supplies will be exhausted within about 50 years. Wood is easier to acquire and manufacture than many other materials, like those in smartwatches.

Choose Style and Sustainability

With the rise of smartwatches comes an equal rise in popularity of the traditional watches. Many people don’t just want to look good, they want to reduce their impact too. Much like the simultaneous rise of Spotify and vinyl records, some consumers are turning away from the experimental and back towards the established. They want high-quality and long-lasting accessories that won’t hurt the environment.

If you’re one of them, check out Treelanks. We offer beautifully designed and handcrafted wooden watches that are as modern and elegant as they are timeless classics. Style AND sustainability. That’s a win for you, and for the planet.

Make one small choice that makes a big difference to your life and the world. Choose Treelanks.

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