Sustainable Headphones: Go Green with Your Tunes

Tip - Sustainable Headphones: Go Green with Your Tunes

Hello and welcome to this week’s sustainability tip! Today’s topic is sustainable headphones, which are becoming increasingly popular among eco-conscious music fans.

Sustainable headphones have become a popular choice with the rise of sustainable living and the increasing demand for eco-friendly products. Especially for those looking to reduce their environmental impact while maintaining quality.

In this article, we’ll look at what makes headphones sustainable and why they’re a good option for anyone concerned about the environment. Join us as we explore the world of sustainable headphones and the future of environmentally friendly audio technology!

Sustainable Headphones: A History

Headphones have become a commonplace accessory in our daily lives, but they have a long history. The first headphones were developed in the late 1800s for telephone operators who needed to hear calls without disturbing those around them.

Although these early headphones were heavy and uncomfortable, they helped pave the way for modern audio technology.

Nathaniel Baldwin handcrafted the first modern headphones in his kitchen in 1910. During World War I, the US Navy purchased these headphones and used them for radio communication. The popularity of headphones grew in the 1920s with the advent of radio broadcasting and the emergence of the jazz age.

Headphones have evolved over time, with companies such as Sony, Bose, and Sennheiser leading the way in audio technology. They are now used for more than just listening to music; they can also be used to make phone calls, attend virtual meetings, and even monitor our health.

Sustainable Headphones - Headphones became popular during the 1920s to listen to radio
Headphones became popular during the 1920s to listen to radio

Every home has at least one pair of headphones – most have more and with any mass-produced item, it can create a mass impact!

So, what are the environmental impacts of headphones and how can we make them sustainable?

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Sustainable Headphones: Environmental Impact

The amount of electronic waste (e-waste) generated by discarded headphones has a significant impact. According to the Global E-waste Monitor, e-waste is the world’s fastest-growing waste stream, and headphones contribute to this problem. When headphones are not properly disposed of, they can end up in landfills and emit harmful chemicals that harm the environment.

In fact, 70% of the toxic waste in landfills is electronic waste. Furthermore, global statistics show that every single year we throw away between 20 and 50 million tonnes of e-waste. This is sad when a lot of it could have been recycled, resold or repurposed.

Another environmental impact is the production of headphones. The materials used in headphones, such as plastic and metals, are often derived from non-renewable resources and require a significant amount of energy to produce. Additionally, the transportation of headphones from manufacturing facilities to consumers can contribute to carbon emissions. Headphones that have to cross the globe to be used have a significant impact.

Sustainable Headphones - Manufacturing, distribution and materials are things to consider for sustainable headphones
Manufacturing, distribution and materials are things to consider for sustainable headphones

It’s not all doom and gloom, and there are certainly things you can look for and do to make your music experience a green one. Next, we take a look at how you can be sustainable when it comes to your headphones.

Sustainable Headphones: What to Look For

Making headphones that are environmentally friendly necessitates a focus on both the materials used and the manufacturing processes. To create sustainable headphones, manufacturers are now using eco-friendly materials such as recycled plastic, bamboo, and even mushroom-based leather. Recycled plastic can reduce the demand for virgin plastic, whereas bamboo and mushroom-based leather are renewable resources that require less energy to produce.

In addition to materials, environmentally friendly methods are used to manufacture sustainable headphones. Some manufacturers, for example, power their manufacturing facilities with renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. To ensure workers are treated fairly, they prioritise ethical and fair labour practices throughout their supply chains.

Buying preloved is also a great call. Well-made headphones can last decades and there are plenty of places to buy them. Headphones also hold their value well, so the second-hand market is thriving. If your headphones are at the end of their life, make sure to recycle them properly.

Sustainable Headphones - Choosing sustainable headphones will reduce your impact on the environment
Choosing sustainable headphones will reduce your impact on the environment

Overall, making headphones sustainable requires a focus on the entire lifecycle of the product, from material selection and production to end-of-life disposal. By choosing sustainable options and taking care of our headphones, we can reduce our impact on the environment and enjoy our music in a responsible way.

Some of our Favourite Sustainable Headphone Brands

There are several sustainable headphone brands that prioritize eco-friendly materials and production processes. Here are the top 3 sustainable headphone brands:

LSTN Sound Co.

Our first sustainable brand is LSTN Sound Co. who create headphones made from reclaimed wood and recycled materials. Their production process is also eco-friendly, using solar power and low-energy consumption equipment.

In 2012, LSTN became the world’s first social good electronics company. A decade later they’ve impacted millions of lives globally with over 50,000 individuals receiving the gift of hearing for the first time, all directly a result of customer purchases.

Sustainable Headphones - LSTN - Zebra Wood Fillmore Wireless Headphones
LSTN - Zebra Wood Fillmore Wireless Headphones


The next featured brand is thinksound that uses sustainable materials such as PVC-free cables, wood housing sourced from renewable resources, and recycled aluminium in their headphones. They also prioritize responsible end-of-life disposal and offer a recycling program for their products.

Aaron Fournier, the company’s founder and industry-leading audio engineer, has dedicated himself to creating audio products that truly respect the art and craft of musicians. He wanted every thinksound product to sound great, look good, feel good, be reasonably priced, and be produced responsibly.

Sustainable Headphones - thinksound v21 their flagship, high-fidelity, studio monitor
thinksound v21 their flagship, high-fidelity, studio monitor

House of Marley

Our final featured brand is House of Marley which uses environmentally friendly materials such as bamboo, recycled aluminium, and FSC-certified wood in its headphone designs. They also use 100% recyclable packaging and prioritize fair labour practices throughout their supply chain.

The company is built on the principles of superior quality, sustainability and a commitment to charitable causes. They enhance lives through great product experiences as well as using proceeds from product sales to support global reforestation through Project Marley.

Sustainable Headphones - House of Marley Positive Vibrations 2 Headphones
House of Marley Positive Vibrations 2 Headphones

Best of all if you head over to the House of Marley website and sign up for their mailing list you can take advantage of a 15% discount on any of their sustainable headphones!

Sustainable Headphones: That’s a wrap

That’s everything for this week.

Most people probably never considered sustainability when it comes to headphones, but they are now an option!

The sustainable shift in behaviour takes time and like any journey, it’s done one step at a time – and now you can check the sustainable headphones box.



Does your business want to engage in sustainable transformation and reap the benefits? If you do, then please get in touch. You can call on +44 0161 399 0356, email or message on social @playitgreen.

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