solar phone charger

Go green On mobile devices

Technology is an essential part of daily life, from cell phones to televisions, music players to laptops. Yet our reliance on electronics also has a significant impact on the environment. But don’t despair! There are countless ways to green up your gadgetry–or even use your gadgets for environmental causes–and we have information tips, guides, fix-it solutions, and facts all in one place to help you go green with your technology.

Individually, gadgets might not seem like such energy hogs. However, take a moment to count how many gadgets you use. Gameboys and Play Stations, cell phones and Palm Pilots, alarm clocks and digital cameras. When we start to add up how many things we use on a regular basis, recharge by plugging in to the wall or popping in new batteries, or toss into the trash when they break, we realize that they make a serious impact. The sheer volume is enough to make us think twice about our consumption — over 5 billion cell phone subscriptions (and far more cell phones) worldwide, about 1.4 billion television sets worldwide, well over 1 billion computers worldwide, and so many more devices we can barely count them. The environmental impacts are equally as difficult to tally.

Not only do we have to look at energy use while we’re running them, but at their entire life cycle. Measuring the impact our devices have on the environment means looking at them from cradle to cradle. Using the most environmentally friendly materials, manufacturing processes, and power sources, as well as ensuring they are properly recycled or repurposed at the end of their lifetimes are all essential elements of greening up our gadgets.

Getting greener mobile device

You might be thinking that your favorite electronics are now becoming a headache. But don’t despair! We can definitely enjoy our devices while still helping to lighten their footprint. Doing simple things like charging properly, checking out Energy Star and Consumer Reports for input before purchasing, taking advantage of free recycling programs, or even making some money off our old devices are all ways we can seamlessly shift into eco-friendly gadget use. You don’t have to ditch your well-loved cell phone or favorite game player to still go green. In fact, hanging on to your old devices for as long as possible before upgrading is one of the greenest things you can do.

In this guide, we’ll talk about easy things you can do to green up your gadgetry, some of the seriously cool science behind advancements in better gadgets, and ways to get more involved in cleaning up all those devices we use on a daily bases and often don’t even think twice about.

  1. Get Expert Input Before Buying
    Take a look at Energy Star ratings, EPEAT ratings, Consumer Reports, and other expert sources to help you make comparisons among gadgets before purchasing. This will help you find the most energy efficient and eco-friendly items available to you.
  2. Buy Used
    Buying a pre-owned electronic accomplishes two excellent goals. First, you help to extend the lifetime of the gadget, lowering its carbon footprint, and secondly, you save money. With the rate at which manufacturers churn out new gadgets, buying barely used gadgets that are in great shape is an easy task and usually is much less expensive, even for the latest gear. There are great buyback companies such as TechForward that sell refurbished electronics, and places like Craigslist and eBay are also good places to look. Of course, the manufacturers usually offer refurbished gear at reduced prices as well. You might even find what you’re seeking free of charge on networks like Freecycle. Read our list of buyback programs, and consider using one of them for your next purchase.
  3. Buy Recycled and Recyclable GadgetsCheck out what materials are used in the product and go for gadgets that use low impact materials that are recycled or sustainably obtained. It is tough, so far, to find new gadgets made of recycled materials, but not impossible. If the device you’re purchasing isn’t made with any recycled materials, at least ensure that it is recyclable. If you want to go a step further, write to the company that makes the product you’re after and let them know you’re only interested in purchasing if they make greener choices in their production.
  4. Trade-in old mobile
    An underperformance phone will downgrade your user experience and waste significant daily time. Therefore, trade-in your phone and upgrading to a new phone is the wise choice for both your money and envirenment.

Charge Gadgets With Renewable Energy

solar phone charger

There are small, personal charging devices that use solar or wind to power your gadgets. In fact, the off-grid chargers for gadgets is a booming market already worth over $2 billion, so your choices are vast and growing. There chargers that can soak up energy all day so you can plug in and recharge your gear at night, or even solar chargers that double as iPhone skins. For wind power, check out the Hymini wind turbine that can charge your cell phone or MP3 player just by sticking it out the window or taking it with you on a bike ride. And a popular charger that uses kinetic energy is the YoGen. Note: Most everything today is rechargeable. But just in case you’re checking out something that isn’t, be sure to go with rechargeable batteries, and ditch the alkaline. Go with Lithium Ion.