Soon you may be able to plant your old mobile phone handset and watch it grow into a flower.

Engineers at the University of Warwick in central England said they had developed a mobile phone case or cover with a seed embedded inside that, when discarded, can be planted in compost where it will disintegrate.

The invention appears to have been a success, with prototype telephones sprouting dwarf sunflowers.

Mobile phones are one of the most quickly discarded items of consumer electronics, the researchers noted.

“Rapid changes in technology and taste means customers constantly upgrade their phones leaving behind more and more discarded phones,” they said.

“However, there is increasing pressure on all manufacturers by policy makers to find ways of recycling discarded goods, and also pressure from some customers who want to feel they are making an environmentally sensitive purchase.”

The mobile phone case is made from a biodegradable polymer developed by PVAXX Research and Development and handset maker Motorola, in conjunction with researchers at Warwick.

The university’s engineers have designed a small transparent window in the case or cover in which a seed can be embedded, but it will not germinate until planted.

A commercial launch date for the new technology has not yet been announced.

More here.