Whether we are enjoying music, talking on a conference call, watching YouTube videos on the commuter train to work, or working out at the gym, headphones are a part of modern daily life. We look for noise-cancelling features, convenient Bluetooth technology (for the wireless crowd) and — of course — great audio quality.
But one thing we all should start looking for in our headphones is environmental friendliness — in battery life and the types of materials the headphones of which the headphones are constructed. Luckily, options are out there that promote sustainability for the audiophile in all of us. Especially when looking at well-priced headphones under 100. Here are five:
1. House of Marley Liberate XLBT wireless over-ear headphones: Eco-friendly construction, $149.99
With its Rewind material made of organic cotton and hemp, recycles metals and recycled water bottles (known as rPET plastic), and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified woods, The House of Marley offers a wide array of truly eco-friendly headphones featuring top-of-the-line sound quality.
The Liberate XLBT wireless headphones have a 50mm dynamic driver, wireless controls on the headset, and a comfortable over-ear design. Another plus: The packaging is recyclable.
2. Marshall Major II wireless headphones: Long battery life, $79
If you’re looking for some of the longest battery life around, Marshall is offering a great option in its Marshall Major II wireless headphones. Of course, the classic amplifier company is known for its high-quality sound, but with only a single battery charge, you’ll be able to use this model for over 30 hours — no need to worry about changing or recycling batteries here or your battery dying if you’re out on a long run.
Tech review website Lab Agile also gives high props to these comfortable, light-weight black headphones, pointing out that Marshall also designed an easy battery charge with a USB cable. You can also pair this model with virtually any Bluetooth device and easily sync it with your smartphone.
3. Thinksound On2 monitor headphones: Superb sound with sustainable wood, $199.99
Thinksound’s On2 monitor headphones might be a little pricey for the average listener, but for the environmentally minded studio professional, these are a steal. This model offers unbeatable audio quality made with sustainably sourced wood — and let’s face it, folks, wood produces a much better acoustic sound than does plastic. Even the cables are PVC-free, helping the environment and your listening experience. On2 also features an enhanced 40mm driver, memory foam ear pads, a flexible headband, and a cotton carrying pouch.
4. Creative Sound Blaster Jam wireless headphones: Ultra lightweight and affordable, $39.99
Audiophiles on a budget might want to try out a set of Creative Sound Blaster Jam wireless headphones. For less than $50, this model produces a great sound and sits on your head comfortably at only 8.8 ounces. The battery lasts for about 12 hours and can be charged with a USB cable. With Neo Dymium drivers, you’ll get a dynamic mix of bass and treble and can “travel light” with these affordable, featherweight headphones.
5. Woodbuds: FSC certified wood and biodegradable plastic, from $25
You can’t go wrong with sustainably sourced wooden earbuds. These durable headphones are made from FSC certified plantation hardwood and come in six different colors. The plastic cables are made of biodegradable material, the company’s manufacturing operations are set up for a low carbon footprint, and (naturally) the earbud packaging is 100% recyclable.
These are just a few headphones available out there for those who rely on headphones for a variety of daily activities who’d also like to reduce their own carbon footprint while enjoying some high-quality audio experiences. Keep your eyes — and ears — open as this eco-friendly industry evolves.
As an environmentally-minded audiophile, being eco-friendly doesn’t only involve headphones. You can also reduce waste through other audio gadgets, too. If you have a car, for instance, you can make better choices on your sound system. You can find good 8-inch subwoofers instead of larger ones, as these smaller units use fewer factory materials. Similarly, there are eco-conscious soundbars and speakers that use recyclable materials as well, and this trend continues as many brands worldwide strive for eco-certifications.
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