Go Ahead, Throw Our Packaging Away (...Into The Compost)

Electronic products seem to be synonymous with ugly, unnecessarily tedious, cut-your-hand-in-the-opening-process, wasteful plastic packaging. 

Then there's Apple.

Despite selling over 5.5 million Macbook's in Q1 of this year, the business with enough cash to pay for every student in the United States to go to Drexel (at $59,000 per yer) still pay upwards of $12 for each 4-color, double-walled, matte box with HD foam inserts.

apple packaging

"Thanks for being so considerate about my Apple packaging collection, Apple!" - This Guy

"You paid how much for the thing I just threw away?!" - Everyone Else

So, what does SPOR do differently?

In the words of Ecovative Design's co-founder Eben Bayer, "It's not like plastics are all bad, it's that they're fundamentally incompatible with the earth's biosphere."

That shouldn't be headline news. Then again there also shouldn't be a garbage island twice the size of France floating in the Pacific Ocean, but, unfortunately, there is. 

An ocean bird filled with plastic (Source:

At SPOR, we strongly believe that nature was the first technology. We strive to achieve harmony between the two dichotomies in everything we do; a portable battery with solar capabilities, eco-friendly packaging, bio-degradeable shell material options. 

Our goal when we were designing our sustainable packaging was for you to be able to toss it straight into your compost heap (barring the desire to start your own SPOR packaging collection).

100% bio-degradeable. Nothing less.

Here's how we went about it:

Mycelium Inserts

  • Description: Agricultural waste like corn husks are condensed into a block and mixed with mycelium (a.k.a. nature's glue). The molds are then baked in a low-temperature oven to halt the growth. 
  • Decomposition Time: ~ 3 months
  • Supplier: Ecovative Design via Sealed Air
ecovative 3.gif


Recycled Burlap Accessory Pouches

  • Description: These nifty little bags are sourced from coffee producing farmers all over the world, from Colombia to Kenya, and are upcycled by our friends in Vermont.
  • Decomposition Time:  Burlap ~3 months | Cotton Drawstring 1-5 months
  • Supplier: CB Sacks

Recycled Cardboard Boxes

  • Description: Just another box...made of 100% recycled content. 
  • Decomposition Time:  ~2 months
  • Supplier: Salazar Packaging

In no longer than 3 months, your SPOR packaging will be ready for you to catalyze your vegetable garden, or spruce up those flower beds.

And there we have it, our ecosystem of green, bio-degradeable, sustainable packaging.

Still, it's what's on the inside that counts, so if you haven't checked it out, give our solar powered phone charger a look-see. 


How 3D Printing Helped Us Innovate in 36 Hours


How 3D Printing Helped Us Innovate in 36 Hours

3D Printing at SPOR

For most, 3D printing is still a hobbyist activity used to print trinkets and prototypes, not real products.

However, with General Electric using 3D printing to manufacture 85,000 fuel nozzles, Nike employing the process in its cleat plates and Hershey's latest partnership with 3D systems to build a printer exclusively for chocolate, a number of bigger players are pushing the technology closer towards the mainsteam market.

Source: MemeCenter

People often ask us why we utilize 3D printing at SPOR.

As an early stage company, committing to an injection molded design can carry a lot of risk regarding inventory levels, possible re-designs and expensive upfront tooling costs. Undoubtedly, the final product will "look more professional," but at what cost?

One of SPOR's most distinct values is adaptability through collaboration, which is one of the reasons we pursued an open-source model. After all, our team only represents a fraction of our product users, why not solicit ideas from those using it the most?

Should we offer a shell with ribbed edges? A carabiner clip? A whole new design altogether?

All those changes are possible, and available for anyone to make through our downloadable shell design, currently hosted on Thingiverse and YouMagine. In turn, this makes our flagship solar charger ultimately adaptable.

How We Beefed Up Our Shell Design in 36 Hours

SPOR Shell Before and After Re-Design

Wednesday May 27, 3pm: Testing of our SPOR shell shows signs of potential weakness on one of the connection ledges.

Wednesday May 27, 5pm: The team meets for a brainstorming session on how to improve the shell design.

Wednesday May 27, 8pm: Resident inventor and arguably the most interesting man in the world (sorry Dos Equis), Steve Webb, settles into Solidworks and begins the re-design process.

Thursday May 28, 1am: 2 bulletproof coffees later (the savior of startups, salute Dave Asprey!), the first re-design is complete and begins printing on our Ultimaker 2. 

Thursday May 28, 3am: The print is complete, assembled and tested. Better! But some tweaks still need to be made.

Thursday May 28, 1pm: The second re-design is printed out and tested. We're getting there, but not quite yet.

Thursday May 28, 9pm: We realize Steve's been listening to 4 songs on repeat for almost 28 hours now. We don't question it. The man's so deep in the zone that Bob Marley has taken the last 8 tracks off from singing.

Friday May 29, 1am: The third re-design is ready to print. Fingers crossed as we set her up on the Ultimaker.

Friday May 29, 3am: Print complete. Components inserted. Shell snapped into place. Great news: it's a doozy. 

...and just like that, we've solved a potentially troublesome problem in 36 short hours and designed a badass shell in the process. The only question left; what if 3D printing was 100x faster?