Choosing a green mobile phone is relatively easy, in most cases you can use Google to search for “greenest mobile phone” or “greenest cellphone” and filter the result for pages that are published in the past 30 days or 6 months.
However, knowing whether these phones are truly green can be a little tricky. These are a few indicators of green mobile phones:
1. Low carbon footprint: Every manufacturing process requires a lot of energy and causes plenty of greenhouses gasses to be released. When choosing a mobile phone, find out whether it is carbon neutral. In this case, the manufacturer calculates the amount of carbon dioxide released for each mobile phone produced and to counterbalance the effect of carbon dioxide released, the manufacturer plants a specific number of trees.
2. Manufactured from recycled materials: The phone, recharger, box, cables and other components should be made mostly from scrap metals, used plastics and other recyclable items. The use of recycled material will reduce the carbon footprint, as less energy is needed when obtaining raw materials from recycled items than extracting ones from ores.
3. Low energy requirement: A green mobile phone should significantly reduce the energy requirement, which means, you don’t need to tap to the recharger too often. A green energy should have by default a “green” setting, which adjusts the screen brightness level as well as reducing Bluetooth and radio signal output to the minimum, usable level. Some green phones includes a calculator on how much CO2 is released for the electricity needed to run the phone since it was first purchased. The information allows you to determine the number of trees you should plant to counterbalance the greenhouse effects of your phone.
4. Free from toxic materials: “Dirty” mobile phones often contain toxic materials such as phthalates, beryllium, CFRs (chlorinated flame retardants) and BFRs (brominated flame retardants).
5. Supports for multiple SIM cards: Using a single phone for multiple GSM or CDMA networks is a greener and practical way to communicate with people as for each phone produced some amount of greenhouse gases and toxic materials are released to the environment.
6. High reliability: A green mobile phone should be reliable and doesn’t break too easily. If you can use a phone for 4 years or more, you don’t need to buy a new phone. Buying “green” mobile phone every six months is not exactly a green activity.
7. Easy recycling: The manufacturer should set up drop off points to help users easily recycle the device when it is no longer usable.
8. Supports for sustainable energy source: The phone manufacturer sometimes also offers a greener way to recharge your phone, such as the possibility to use solar power to recharge your phone. The portable recharging station usually includes a foldable solar cell, which can be used at the window or outdoor. Of course, you should make sure that the recharging station can last for many years and it is produced in a green way. Some phones even have integrated solar panel on the back, which a more practical solution to get free energy and to further reduce your annual carbon footprint.
Many families still use huge CRT monitors for their desktop computer. Often the monitors are so large in proportion of the whole system that it took up a large part of thedesk. These monitor are so heavy that people need to take a few deep breaths before hoisting it.
Cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors are still manufactured today and although they look prettier and slimmer today, they still consume a lot of electricity and generally inefficient, as it waste energy in form of excess heat. CRT monitors still have plenty of advocates, because they offer sharp pictures and the pictures still looks good when seen from the side. CRT monitors may be cheaper, but because they need more energy and have shorter lifespan than LCDs, the cost advantage is often insignificant or even non existent.
Liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors use considerably less energy, won’t ramp up the temperature in your office, and are smaller. For household uses, LCD monitors between 17” and 21” are usually enough. Popular LCD monitor manufacturers are Acer, Asus, LG, Samsung and Sony.
You can also make a noticeable impact on your energy bottom line by trading in your CRT monitor for a LCD. Be sure to read reviews on the Internet before you buy a monitor, find out about its reliability, picture quality and of course, energy consumption.
An older, huge CRT may slurp down nearly 100 W of electricity by itself and they may endanger the Earth in other ways. CRT monitors may expose you to different toxic substances, including phosphorous, cadmium, barium, mercury and lead. When burned or dumped in landfill, much higher amount of dangerous chemicals are released into the air or leached into groundwater. By disposing of your CRT in a green way, you are participating in making your environment cleaner and safer.
When choosing for a green monitor, take into account the power consumption for three different modes, On, Sleep and Off. For example, during Sleep mode the monitor should consume less than 2 Watt and less than 1 Watt under the Off mode.
When looking for a monitor that measure up to green standard, the EPEAT standard helps you to determine whether the manufacturers live up to their environmentally-friendly claims. These are a few steps in choosing with the help of EPEAT.
1. Check review sites to choose a few monitors models you like. Although EPEAT registry offers comprehensive databases, it is always useful to learn more about models you have in mind before deciding to buy it.
3. Use the Quick Search tool to find the monitor you prefer and check its grades. The higher the grade the better its energy efficiency, for example, the gold grade is an indicator that the product is highly efficient.
4. If you have more than one preferred models, select the checkboxes and click the “Compare” button. This will help you to quickly determine the greenest monitor among the pack.
Are you running low-energy, green computer? Many people think that computers don’t take much power, but you should remember that an average computer often require between 200 to 500 Watts of power. And just because you have an efficient desktop that requires only 120 Watts of power, you can’t immediately think of it as a green computer. Experts have warned that the relatively short lifespan of computers (compared to other home appliances) can cause a significant release of greenhouse gasses and toxic substance during the manufacturing process, usage and disposal.
These are five considerations when looking for green computers:
80-Plus Power Supplies
When choosing or building a green computer, it is necessary to have a power supply that delivers only the power you need. For example, a 500W 80-Plus compliant power supply provides 250 W of power if your computer components only require that amount of power. Many power supplies deliver more power than you need, which can add up your electrical bills over the years.
An energy efficient computer can still become an environmental hazard due to the presence of toxic substances. Some countries already set firm regulations on the toxic substances content in computer products. In 2007, Intel released its first lead-free CPUs. Unfortunately, many overseas manufacturers still haven’t yet followed suit. As of today, building a lead-free computer is still a challenging task.
With the higher awareness on energy efficiency, major computer manufacturers are now offering low-power computers, which use energy-saving components. Lenovo, HP, Fujitsu and Dell are now advertising energy-efficient desktops and laptops. Until toxic-free components take off in the market, you should get energy efficient models only from these manufacturers.
Smaller, less powerful computers
Consider whether you really need full-sized desktops and laptops. Small, affordable, energy-efficient netbooks are often sufficient for most office tasks. A $300 netbook powered with Intel Atom N570 or AMD E-350 requires less than 35W of power, while offering an acceptable level of performance for most office tasks. If possible use older operating system such as the Home version of Windows XP instead of Windows 7 to avoid possible performance issues on slower computers. Only use more powerful, more energy-intensive computers when you need them.
Energy Star compliance
US government initiated the Energy Star program to provide manufacturers with guidelines on power consumption for electronic products. The Energy Star standard requires electronic components to have the lowest energy consumption during three usage modes; sleep, standby and full-use, for example a monitor with Energy Star compliance should only consume 2W of power during the sleep mode. This standard provides a reliable and quick way to choose highly efficient energy components, but on some product types, the choices can be limited, however, major manufacturers continue to find ways to reduce energy requirements. An energy-efficient component such as LED monitors is usually more expensive than the power-hungry CRT monitors of the same size, however, over time, the extra investment will pay for itself due to significant energy saving.
When you’re trying to get rid of an unused or broken gadget that is too expensive to fix, you should consider the three Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle). Just because you plan to get rid of a gadget, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should always use the recycling method. In some cases, the terms “reuse” and “recycle” are interchangeable. By giving away a gadget, you are repurposing it and you are also recycling it. In fact, it is even better than the recycling in a traditional sense, as you skip the breaking down and the re-manufacturing processes, which still release some greenhouse gasses and toxic substances.
Unfortunately, giving away or selling your mobile gadget carries some risks as it contains your personal information. Although you are trying to spread good karma, you still should take steps to limit things that can harm you in any way. Before bringing your phone to the repurposing or recycling center, make sure you completely erase all important personal information. Check the Internet to find out how to reset your phone or gadget to default factory settings, which will also erase any data and restore all default settings. This will also help new users as they can get accustomed better with a gadget with stock settings. Restoring factory settings usually involve typing a series of numbers and symbols. On some devices, it requires pressing a combination of keys, while on other devices, you simply need to open the Settings menu and choose the “Format” or the “Restore to Default Settings” option.
It is important to note that erasing data from your memory card is not so easy. Erasing or formatting your memory card doesn’t guarantee to prevent data theft because some software can reliably undelete or unformat a storage media. Your safest bet is to reuse the memory card in your new gadget or cut it up to little pieces.
These are a few ways to recycle your mobile phones and gadgets:
· Network provider’s retail store: If you purchased green phones from the provider, it is likely that the provider sets up a recycle point at the retail store. You may also check the manufacturer’s website to find out whether it offers recycling, trade-in and take-back programs.
· Donation: Many people such as elderly, domestic abuse victims and others will gladly accept a mobile phone to allow them call emergency services. Check the website of donation organizations that accept mobile phones, such as Call Phone Trade-Ins, Call to Protect, CollectiveGood and Wirefly.org.
· Electronics trade in sites: You can visit the following sites to see whether you can trade in unwanted gadgets which help you toward financing a part of new purchases. Visit the website of popular electronic trade-ins services such as Flipswap, Consumer Electronics Recycling and BuyMyTronics.
· Internet auction sites: Sites such as PlunderHere, eBid and Bonanzle can help you sell unwanted phones, gadgets and other electronic product safely.
· Reputable recyclers that accept e-waste: By recycling your gadgets, you can reduce the release of waste and hazardous materials.