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Home / Hot Stuff / Audio / These affordable AirPods alternatives are made from recycled plastic waste

These affordable AirPods alternatives are made from recycled plastic waste

Say Boo to single-use

Like the world’s waterways, plastic waste has no place in your ears. Luckily, no-one’s likely to use your lugholes as a receptacle for their sausage roll wrappers. But the latest wireless ‘buds from Urbanears will fill your canals with trash, with the aim of saving the planet.

Giving discarded detritus a chance to be heard, the Urbanears Boo harness recycled plastic for their lightweight casings. The component refuse is recovered from all sorts of sources, ranging from tossed bottles to junked air conditioning units. Collected, cleaned and processed, the resulting material is then used to produce a more sustainable set of AirPods alternatives – at a price that won’t cause a personal banking crisis.

Shipped in two styles, the Urbanears Boo adopt a fixed-tip design like the standard Apple AirPods. Prefer the customisable fit of a silicone insert? The Urbanears Boo Tips ape the AirPods Pro with flexible ends that ship in three sizes, for improved comfort and noise isolation. Perfect for soundtracking your next beach clean-up.

Greener of the duo is the hard-shell Boo: of all the plastic used in its construction, 97% is recycled. The Boo Tips use a slightly smaller – but still respectable – fraction of trash at 91%. It’s all part of a push by Urbanears to be climate neutral and circular by 2030.

Different designs aside, the eco-friendly earphones are otherwise identical. Both Boo ‘buds promise a standalone playback time of 4.5 hours, with a further 25.5 available from the charging case. Each splash-resistant set also benefits from relatively sizeable 10mm drivers, Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity, noise-filtering mics and integrated touch controls.

Taking a leaf from the Apple school of sustainable minimalism, Urbanears has also removed the USB-C cable from the Boo’s box. You’ve probably already got one. And if you don’t, you can always buy a recycled wire from Le Cord.

Finished in Charcoal Black, Almost Green or Slightly Blue, both styles of Urbanears Boo are available now. Tips or fixed, each will set you back £70/$80.

Profile image of Chris Rowlands Chris Rowlands Freelance contributor


Formerly News Editor at this fine institution, Chris now writes about tech from his tropical office. Sidetracked by sustainable stuff, he’s also keen on coffee kit, classic cars and any gear that gets better with age.

Areas of expertise

Cameras, gear and travel tech