During Apple’s September Wonderlust event, one of Apple’s major points, aside from unveiling its new hardware, of course, was its commitment to becoming 100 per cent carbon-neutral by 2030. In the midst of its perfectly cheesy skit in which we saw Tim Cook nervously prepare for Apple’s meeting with Mother Nature, portrayed by the iconic Octavia Spencer, Apple confirmed the long-circulated rumor that it will no longer produce leather cases and Apple Watch bands.
Luckily, there’s a variety of eco-friendly, yet stylish and sturdy watch bands on the market, from harmless fabric to bands that are made out of recycled ocean plastic – even a luxury option from Hermés. Now, along with Apple, you can help to reduce a carbon footprint and still express your personality. Focusing on bands that use recycled materials or even be recycled after use, here are some great eco-friendly options to accessorize and secure your new watch.
Pela Case / Pocket-lint
PelaCase Vine Watch Band
Best eco-friendly band overall
The Pela Case Vine Watch Band is your best bet for eco-friendly Apple Watch Series 9 bands. It’s made out of Pela Case’s proprietary Flaxstic material which is compostable once the watch band has reached its end of life. The band itself is soft and comfortable, coming in five different colors for both small and large models.
Apple / Pocket-lint
Apple FineWoven Apple Watch Band
Best leather replacement
Made out of 68 per cent recycled materials, Apple’s FineWoven watch band is the company’s big push into sustainability with Apple Watch, replacing its less environmentally-friendly leather bands. It boasts a suede feel along with two designs, the Modern Buckle and Magnetic Link, however, note that the buckle is the only difference in the design.
Hermes / Pocket-lint
Hermés Toile H Band for Apple Watch
Best premium band
Hermès has a long relationship with Apple, and followed its lead by removing leather bands from Apple’s store to replace with more eco-friendly options. These choices include the Toile H Single Tour, the Bridon, and Twill Jump. These bands cost a pretty penny, but have exceptional build quality, a timeless look, and plenty of color options.
Nike / Pocket-lint
Apple Nike Sport Band
Best rubber band
The Nike Sport Band is Nike’s attempt to bring Apple’s eco-friendliness to the table, plus it’s a good option for folks looking for that rubber watch band feel. The waterproof band is made from 32 per cent recycled fluoroelastomer with flecks in the band made from 66 per cent recycled fluoroelastomer and comes in six colors.
Otterbox / Pocket-lint
LifeProof Eco Friendly Band for Apple Watch
Best with recycled materials
The OtterBox LifeProof Eco Friendly Band is made from 99 per cent recycled ocean plastic that is spun into a yarn. And despite being made of plastic, the band boasts a fabric feel. The LifeProof band comes in seven different colors for both smaller and larger Apple Watches. Additionally, it’s a budget-friendly option at just $15.
Iiteeology / Pocket-lint
iiteeology Apple Watch Band
Best wood band
The Iiteeology Apple Watch Band features a dual wood and stainless steel design. The wood is a deep Sandalwood and the steel comes as either a stainless steel or a black steel color. While the wood appears more red in person than online, the band still features an elegant design that matches well even with dress clothes.
Meridio / Pocket-lint
Meridio Apple Watch Band
Best alternative materials
Made from ecycled apple skins, this Meridio Apple Watch band gives dual meaning to Apple recycling. Additionally, the bands come in four colors, each one with its own adorable apple-inspired name for 41mm, 45mm, and 49mm sizes to fit the Series 9. The material is technically a vegan leather, so expect that leather dupe feel.
Bandiction / Pocket-lint
Bandiction Apple Watch Band
Best budget band
The Bandiction Apple Watch Band is a reasonably inexpensive watch band made from recycled yarn, which Bandiction says are interwoven with silicone threads to create a stretchy fabric wristband. It comes in more than two dozen colors for both 41mm and 45mm Apple Watches. While not super premium, the band boasts a stretchy and reliable fit.
The best eco-friendly Apple Watch Series 9 bands: Which one is best for you?
You have a surprising number of choices if you want to go with an environmentally friendly watch band. Apple is leading the charge here with the FineWoven bands. Brands that sell watchbands on Apple’s website, like Hermes and Nike, are both following suit, so you can buy watchbands with recycled materials across Apple’s website.
However, we don’t think you can beat the Pela Case Vine watch bands and their one-of-a-kind compostable design. You can literally throw that watch band anywhere after you’re done using it and it’ll decompose safely. After all, what good are recycled materials if they wind up back in a landfill anyway?
Are eco-friendly watch bands of lower quality than regular bands?
Not really. It’s all the same plastic, fabric, or materials that would’ve gone into the watch anyway. Recycled materials have just been through the process once before. You’ll rarely find a non-recycled watch band that’s of lower quality than its non-recycled counterpart. Since Apple is gung ho about this kind of stuff, you can expect more eco-friendly bands to hit the market as well.
Are silicone and rubber watch bands bad for the environment?
Silicone has its pros and cons. It can be recycled indefinitely without losing any of its properties. However, it’s difficult to recycle and product. It’s definitely better for the environment than plastic. With rubber, it really depends. Rubber can be derived naturally or manufactured synthetically. Harvesting natural rubber contributes to deforestation and synthetic rubber is usually made from crude oil. So, no, rubber isn’t the best for the environment.