Card Radio: recyclable, aptly named
December 13, 2011
Card Radio was conceived as an environmentally friendly piece of consumer electronics, presumably with the mass market in mind. Its entire housing is made from recyclable, though not recycled, cardboard. Despite its low cost and eco-credentials, Card Radio aims not to sacrifice elegance, harkening back to the 1960s aesthetic that designer Chris McNicholl claims as its influence.
It's really worth reiterating that, aside from the electronic components essential to its functioning as a radio, Card Radio really is made of nothing else. It's assembled (or folded) by the user without need of glue, making the product easy to disassemble, which in turn increases the likelihood that it actually will be recycled.
The Card Radio (conceived by McNicholl under the name Environmentally Sound - get it?) takes four AA batteries and includes a DC adaptor port, though the adaptor itself does not come included (needless to say: check the manufacturer's spec before connecting one). A surprising but welcome touch is the inclusion of an audio input and cable - a makeshift emergency speaker for a phone or MP3 player.
The radio weighs in at nine tenths of a pound (0.416 kg), the bulk of which is accounted for by the electronics inside, and a single unit's compact paper and cellophane packaging weighs a mere 32 grams (0.07 lb), so the environmental cost of its shipment has been kept down.
If there's an obvious question mark it is over durability. It's probably even more essential that this stays dry than the rest of your electronic gadgetry (damp cardboard doesn't smell good, to begin with). A nice touch would be to be able to buy replacement housings for when one's cardboard shell gets a little worse for wear. It would be better still if the manufacturers went the whole nine hogs and incorporated recycled cardboard - perhaps for Card Radio 2.0. In the meantime, if you've snapped one of these up, let us know how it sounds.