Having trouble keeping your smartphone charged throughout the day? Designer Tsung Chih-Hsien has created a Red Dot Design Award-winning concept for a tiny cardboard capsule that could juice up your phone. It’s called the Mini Power. You just choose how much battery time you need–two, four, or six hours–plug it in, then recycle it later.
Tsung’s biodegradable design, which he also envisions being purchased at convenience stores, eschews the plastic of most disposable batteries, which not only makes the case a little more environmentally friendly, but also saves on packaging. Since each Mini Power battery can just be broken off a perforated sheet, you could potentially buy them in bulk that way.
Disposable smartphone batteries aren’t a new idea. They’re especially prominent in Asia. Japanese convenience stores, for example, have been selling disposable batteries by the truckload for years. But these batteries tend to be environmentally unfriendly, not just because of the lithium ion batteries inside them, but because they come in plastic casings.
There’s still the problem of the tiny battery inside each capsule, but Tsung imagines it would be recycled at the same convenience store you bought your Mini Power from. Drop one off, pick up a new one; rinse and repeat.
Disposable smartphone batteries are never going to be as good of an option as an external, rechargeable battery pack, but as Tsung’s elegant concept shows, good design can do a lot to strip many of their evils away, while making them more attractive to consumers to boot.