As beneficial as technology has been in improving the world in almost every way, it has also contributed to a distinctly modern problem: electronic waste.

It is estimated that electronic waste in the world today amounts to roughly 50 million tons every year. But one Finnish design company is leading the way in developing tech that is sustainable, green and safe for the environment – which is already under considerable strain.

Developed by Aivan, Korvaa is a pair of headphones made entirely from a fungus and other biodegradable materials. The padding on the earcups of the headphones are made from plant cellulose and a foaming protein, produced by fungus, and the headphones feature a 3D-printed headband made from yeast-produced lactic acid. The faux leather finish on the earcups is also made from fungus, and the mesh over the speakers is, amazingly, derived from biosynthetic spider silk, produced by microbes.

The materials used in the Korvaa headphones have been almost entirely produced by microbes.

The materials used in the Korvaa headphones have been almost entirely produced by microbes.

Still a prototype, which is missing the electronic components which will enable it to transmit sound, the Korvaa headphones were unveiled at the SinguarityU Nordic symposium in Helsinki, is just the next step in sustainable tech.

Apple, one of the largest electronics manufacturers in the world, has already vowed to use recyclable materials in their manufacturing process, and there is a growing trend among tech companies, like in many other industries today, to lessen the environmental impact of these devices.

Even if they make our lives significantly simpler, ensuring that technology doesn’t make things more difficult than they need to be on the earth is of paramount importance.

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