Microsoft Went and Made a Pretty Damn Good Mouse Out of Some Ocean Plastics

Microsoft Went and Made a Pretty Damn Good Mouse Out of Some Ocean Plastics
The Microsoft Ocean Recycled Plastic Mouse. Image: Microsoft

Microsoft yesterday sent me over some goodies (I can’t tell you what the big thing is just yet, but oh boy am I excited to review it). Apart from a cool new thing which I can’t name right now, Microsoft added in its Ocean Recycled Plastic Mouse, a nice little surprise that I’m pretty intrigued by.

Tech made from recycled components should be a bigger thing. Internationally, there’s an estimated 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste, breaking down into microplastics and damaging our ecosystems, changing our world in pretty gross ways. Plastic is special in that it can last many years without breaking down… Which is why I’m pretty excited about a mouse using recycled plastic, even if it is only 20 per cent of the chassis.

The Microsoft Ocean Recycled Plastic Mouse

WHAT IS IT?

Microsoft’s plastic mouse made from (partly) recycled plastics.

PRICE

$34

LIKE

Does the job, reliable Bluetooth connectivity, does something to be sustainable.

NO LIKE

Only one colour choice, feels a bit flimsy.

You’re telling me this mouse is made (partly) from ocean plastics?

So there’s not much to say but I wanted to just quickly write up some thoughts on the mouse.

The shell of Microsoft’s Ocean Recycled Plastic Mouse is made from 20 per cent recycled ocean plastic. None of the internals are recycled. The packaging is entirely recyclable and the mouse uses Bluetooth 5.0 to pair with your computer of choice (it worked with my Macbook Pro and my Windows PC).

The exterior of the device looks a bit like a bird egg: it’s white and covered in small black spots in random locations. This is the classic kind of design that you can expect from eco-friendly tech that reuses plastic. Additionally, at the back of the mouse, there’s a splotch of yellow colouring, but this could be unique to my unit (it was also a bit difficult to photograph, so no pic).

Acer’s eco-friendly laptop, the Aspire Vero, has a similar design. It’s referential to all of the plastics that have been recycled in the making of this mouse.

microsoft ocean recycled plastic mouse
The Acer Aspire Vero and the Microsoft Ocean Recycled Plastic Mouse. Image: Acer and Microsoft

Aesthetically I don’t mind it – of course, it’s purposefully meant to look like a recycled product and it doesn’t hurt the eye.

I’d love to see if, one day, Microsoft could apply at least a 20 per cent recycled plastic count to all of its peripherals. Dell for example uses between 30 and 35 per cent recycled resins in creating its computer plastics.

I don’t think it’s impossible, but if you’re like me, you might be wondering if 20 per cent seems kind of low. Well, yeah, it is; that still means 80 per cent of the plastic used is made from newly introduced plastics. But, optimistically, it’s the first time Microsoft has made a product from recycled ocean plastics. It could be just a way that the company is testing the waters (mind the pun).

Mind you, ocean plastics are hard to recycle, considering high levels of contamination. If this mouse means supporting ocean cleanups then I’m a bit of a fan.

Sustainability-wise I think it’s a terrific place to start, but big tech companies that produce a lot of plastic-intensive products should definitely eye up more sustainable ways of creating their stuff. Microsoft also says that it’s capable of 12 months of battery life off of one AA battery.

Please don’t throw your used computer mice into the ocean

Just on the downsides, for something as simple as this mouse, I’m glad to report that there aren’t many. The Bluetooth quickly connects to any device I’ve tried it out with, with only one function button under the device (the on-off button, which you hold to enter pairing mode).

It’s also not a very big mouse, which would be a downside for some. Personally, I like a mouse that I can have a good whole-hand grip over, but the palm of my hand hangs off a bit at the back of the mouse. Optimistically, at least it’s more portable. Additionally, the scroll wheel is a little coarse, but this is fine.

microsoft ocean recycled plastic mouse
The Logitech Pro Wireless mouse beside the Microsoft Ocean Recycled Plastic Mouse. Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

The only real downside I can think of is that the mouse is a bit flimsy-feeling. I worry that if I dropped this mouse too hard on the floor that its plastic could crack or that the buttons could stop working.

But at least it’s a good price. $35 for a more sustainable mouse than usual is pretty decent.

Should you get Microsoft’s ocean mouse?

If you don’t mind small mice, don’t want to spend too much on a mouse and just want Bluetooth functionality without much fuss, then yeah, this mouse works a treat.

Just don’t take it swimming.