There’s a pattern in the tech world. First, we make things very big and powerful, think supercomputers, then we make them very small and powerful. We now have computers so small that we can wear them in the form of watches on our wrists.
Smartwatches have changed the way we use watches. They don’t just tell time but can also track our activity, monitor our heart rate, play music, act as a wallet, and run many of the other apps that we used to rely on our phones for. But are they vegan?
Are Smartwatches Vegan?
Whatever smartwatch brand you have on your wrist, it’s likely to contain some animal by-products in the materials and processes that contribute to its manufacture. As it’s currently impossible to create any vegan-certified computer and smartwatches are essentially just computers, many vegans will choose to own one and regard that decision as acceptable by their own standards of veganism.
What Animal Products Are In Smartwatches?
The potential list of animal derivatives that may be found in smartwatches is the same as may be contained in any other computing device. This is because the computers in smartphones are produced using the same raw materials, substances, and processes that make other types of computers.
Gelatin, extracted from the collagen of cows and pigs, is likely to appear in smartwatches. Gelatin is a by-product of the meat and leather industries as it’s made from their discarded animal parts rather than the animals being slaughtered explicitly for its manufacture.
The LCD screens of smartwatches, their metal or plastic casings, batteries, and other components may have been made using materials containing traces of animal products and machinery, including animal by-products.
What Are Major Brands Doing to Improve Smartwatches?
Major name manufacturers of smartwatches have recognized that there’s work to do in making their products eco-friendlier. Apple has responded to the call by issuing environmental reports to accompany their smartphones.
These reports detail the energy efficiency of the components, software, and power consumption of their device. Of course, none of these aspects are directly related to the consumption of animal products, however indirectly, the more a company minimizes environmental impact, the more they contribute to protecting animal habitats.
Samsung is making a move towards more sustainable packaging, also contributing to an overall greener product. There are also innovations towards creating modular Blocks smartwatches.
With this new technology, instead of buying a new smartwatch, you will be able to update your existing one with new tech modules. This represents a more environmentally sustainable approach to the production of smartwatches but doesn’t directly address the vegan issue.
In terms of making their smartwatches more vegan, all companies are constrained by no current vegan alternative to gelatin in the production of tech devices. While investigations into gelatin substitutes, which began in the ’50s, are ongoing, so far, there’s not been a breakthrough vegan alternative.
What About Non-Smartwatches, Are They Vegan?
Here the news gets better. There are lists of vegan watches produced under environmentally friendly conditions using ethically sourced raw materials.
Of course, once you take the ‘smart’ out of the watch, you’re left with a much more basic product that doesn’t do anything more than keep you on time. If you find it unnecessary to own a watch that can replace your phone, then perhaps a regular wristwatch can be your vegan alternative.
Can You Accessorise Your Smartwatch With Vegan Parts?
Make your smartphone more vegan’ish by choosing accessories, such as watchbands, that are made from vegan materials. Vegan leather gets the PETA tick for a cruelty-free alternative. Many online shopping sites offer vegan watch brands and other watch accessories that are both fashion and eco-conscious.
The more consumers support brands that are ethical and green products, the more that these modes of production make it into the mainstream. Placing environmental consciousness front and center of our principles for purchasing items contributes to the welfare of animals in their natural habitats.
Can Smartphones Be Recycled?
Vegans are very often avid recyclers as they understand the intimate connections between animal welfare and the planet’s well-being. One issue with smartphones early on in their inception was that there weren’t always reputable recycling programs available in every jurisdiction.
Programs such as Recycle Health, established at Tufts University in Massachusetts, aim to address this problem. Recycle Health collects old smartwatches and other such devices distribute them to people in need. In this way, it’s not only saving the devices from landfills but also extending a helping hand.
By ensuring that smartphones are responsibly recycled, you are saving them from polluting animal habitats and decreasing the need to produce new devices featuring animal extracted products.
Buying or owning a second-hand smartwatch is another way to reduce the demand for the production of more animal by-products.
Demand Transparency From Manufacturers
The situation around disclosure of how brands may use animal by-products in their manufacturing processes is already evolving, but improvements can always be made. Lobby your favorite companies to innovate towards products that lessen the degree of potential animal exploitation and boycott those exposed brands that have poor environmental and animal welfare policies.
Tech companies are responsive to demand and will only want to produce products that are profitable for them. Make moving towards more vegan solutions a good choice.
Ultimately it comes down to a kind of vegan responsibility. As it’s impossible to own any tech devices that are guaranteed vegan, you may want to question which devices are of most value to you.
If you find it impracticable not to own a smartphone but could happily live without a smartwatch, then this may be your compromise. If a smartwatch is a must for you, do some research to find the brands that are doing the most towards providing for a greener future that will hopefully also include less exploitation of animals in the production of their products.