Informal group to encourage idea exchange on best practices, lessons learned and solutions for improved electronic stewardship at facilities in government facilities and elsewhere.
Green IT Hype Commentary
August 17, 2009 at 12:29 am #78082
From the Gartner Blog(s)
Do you need a green handset?
August 15th, 2009
Author: Nick Jones
My colleague Simon Mingay who leads our green IT and environmental sustainability research sent me this link to yet another article on “green” mobiles. Let me say up front that I totally support the idea of putting less bad stuff into the environment, whether the bad stuff is CO2 or polluting chemicals. But I am hyper-sceptical when I see the words “green” attached to mobile phones (or anything else for that matter) because the topic is surrounded by so much greenwashing, woolly thinking and misdirection. So as a public service here are seven simple ideas for anyone who wants a greener mobile experience, and as an added bonus none of them requires you to buy a new ”green” handset.
1. Buy a smaller lighter mobile. Small things use less material than large ones. If you want a mobile containing 15% less nasty stuff buy one that’s 15% smaller & lighter.
2. Trade down, buy a cheap and simple mobile. Things cost money because they consume resources and manufacturing effort; the amount of which is very approximately correlated with carbon production and environmental by-products. Cheap mobiles are likely to have a smaller environmental footprint than expensive mobiles because they have smaller screens, less components a smaller battery etc.
3. Any new mobile you buy, however green, will have contributed some CO2 and pollution to the environment. So don’t buy a new mobile, keep your current one. Or maybe get a cast-off from your kids. You’re a grown-up adult now, you don’t have to prove anything, you can afford to look uncool. If your friends don’t understand the concept of retro chic and you feel self conscious using a scratched old handset install a wallpaper image that says “I’m using an old phone to save the planet” and leave it lying around conspicuously to impress people.
4. Strike a blow against all those aggravating people who tell you to unplug your mobile charger to save the planet. Leave that charger plugged in, you know it would annoy them if they found out. If you really want to save energy switch off a light. A 60W bulb running for an hour uses the same electricity as an idle charger running for 5 days. New generation chargers are even better.
5. If you really want to reduce charger power consumption…. talk less. When the charger is actually charging your phone it uses 10x as much power as when it’s idle. So the less you charge, the less CO2 you generate. Also, your friends will be grateful for the extra peace and quiet.
6. Phones with solar cells are probably more environmentally damaging than ones without. So don’t buy one. It’s all because of the embodied energy required to manufacture the cells; for more details take a look at a blog I wrote on this a while back. In any case, leaving your phone in a sunny spot for 2 days every time you need to charge it up is hardly intelligent.
7. Subject those “green” adverts to a bit of rational analysis. “80% recyclable” only means something if the product is is actually recycled. Do you really believe the folks who collect your garbage actually dismantle every dead handset into teeny pieces to recycle them all? And is biodegradable plastic really a good thing? A handset case made from degradable plastic just decomposes and puts carbon back into the environment. Land fill plastic locks that carbon away for hundreds of years.
I really do want to save the environment. But I hate it when people try to fool me with pseudo-green marketing.
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