Articles Posted in the Green News, Lead category

Universal phone charger to slash waste

October 22, 2009
Posted in Green News, Lead

microusbTired of having a drawer-full of old, worthless chargers that can’t be used to power up your new cellphone? Well, the days of proprietary cellphone chargers are coming to an end.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) today approved a standard for a one-charger-fits-all format for future cellphone chargers. For consumers this means that they will not need to buy a new charger each time they change cellphones and they will be able to share a single charger between multiple users. For cellphone makers it will reduce the need to ship a new charger with each and every phone they produce, significantly reducing the number of chargers in production.

The move to a universal charger comes just two weeks before the Climate Change Talks to be held in Barcelona in early November and cements a decision first made at the Mobile World Congress in February. At the time all major manufacturers, excluding Apple, agreed to work towards a universal cellphone charger. Apple subsequently joined a European initiative to promote universal chargers by 2010.

The ITU says the new Universal Charging Solution (UCS) is expected to reduce standby energy consumption by 50% and “eliminate 51,000 tonnes of redundant chargers, and a subsequent reduction of 13.6 million tonnes in greenhouse gas emissions each year”.

The new charger format will use the MicroUSB input jack, a connection already built into many newer cellphones.

Guide to climate friendlier gadgets

November 26, 2008
Posted in Business, Lifestyle

The lastest Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics has just been released and this time, in the run-up to the big UN climate change talks in Poland next week, the focus is on climate leadership.

Consumer electronics can play an important role in moving the world towards a low-carbon future, but most companies have been slow to get serious about climate change, says Greenpeace. Although they have made “gradual” improvements on toxic and e-waste issues over the past few years, only a minority of consumer electronics companies are really leading on energy and climate change. And now Greenpeace wants them to step up to the challenge and show leadership.

Since June, the greener electronics guide has examined companies on their climate and energy criteria, which include, their direct emissions, their product performance, their use of renewable energy and their political support for emission cuts. And here’s what Greenpeace found:

Of the 18 market-leading companies included, only Sharp, Fujitsu Siemens and Philips show full support for the necessary emissions cuts of 30 percent for industrial nations by 2020.

Only HP and Philips have made commitments to make substantial cuts in their own emissions from the product manufacture and supply chain.

All the other companies in the guide make “vague or essentially meaningless statements about global emissions reductions and have no plans to make absolute emissions cuts themselves”.

Many companies have gained points from their products’ efficiency improvements.

Most companies use little renewable energy. Nokia, which is still in the number one spot, sources 25 percent of its total electricity use from renewable energy and is committed to sourcing 50 percent by 2010.

Other brands with points for renewable energy use are FSC, Microsoft, Toshiba, Motorola and Philips.

Although Philips and HP score well on energy issues, Greenpeace says they’re position on toxics is letting them down.

Those who score well on toxic chemical criteria already have products on the market free of the worst substances, including Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba, FSC and Sharp.

Overall, the biggest moves up the ranking are Motorola, (from 15th to joint 7th), Toshiba (from 7th to 3rd) and Sharp, (up from 16th to 10th).

The companies falling down the ranking are the PC brands Acer, Dell, HP and Apple. Although Apple drops a place, it has improved its total score this time because of better reporting on the carbon footprint of its products, and although not scoring any extra points, its new iPods are now free of both PVC and brominated flame retardants.

Read more about how the companies fared.

Sun, wind and cellphones in remote areas

October 22, 2008
Posted in Renewable energy

Ericsson has unveiled a new wind-powered radio base station concept that could support mobile communication in areas with no or limited access to the electricity grid, says the company. The wind-powered Tower Tube houses base station and antenna in a fully enclosed concrete tower. It has a smaller footprint and lower environmental impact than traditional steel towers, says Ericsson. Its power consumption is 40 percent lower than traditional bases station sites and this helps operators reduce their operating costs significantly, says the company.

The wind-powered Tower Tube has a four-blade turbine with five-meter blades vertically attached to the tower. Ericsson is working with Vertical Wind AB and Uppsala University in Sweden to develop the concept and trials will be conducted to determine if the wind-powered Tower Tube enables low-cost mobile communication, with reduced impacts on both the local and global environment, the company says in a press release.

Village Solar Chargers in Africa

Ericsson and Sony Ericsson have codeveloped a solar charger for mobile phones that has been shipped to 12 Millennium Village clusters in Africa, as part of a project with Columbia University’s Earth Institute and the Millennium Villages project aiming to lift rural African communities out of extreme poverty.

Mobile phones are contributing to economic development in the developing world but the biggest problem in rural areas is charging the phone, says Mats Pellbäck Scharp, Sony Ericsson’s director of environment and supplier quality assurance. “People often have a phone but need to walk for miles to get it charged.”

The Ericsson Village Solar Charger is built on standard components and can be used for all types of mobiles. It uses a 0.7 square metre solar panel connected to a rack where eight mobiles can be charged at the same time. A 12-volt lead-acid battery makes charging possible at night. The charger is capable of recharging at least 30 mobile phone batteries a day, all year round. It can also be used for other types of load, such as powering computers, lights or TV sets, says Ericsson.

Cell phone charger that doesn’t waste electricity

May 1, 2008
Posted in Lifestyle

Pocket Picks reports that Nokia has come up with a cell phone charger that switches itself off when your phone is charged. We’ve all been told to unplug our appliances at the wall because they still use electricity in standby mode. Well, the Zero Waste charger has a big green button on the back that you press to start charging and that automatically pops up when the battery’s charged. This cuts down on the amount of electricity wasted. It’s apparently still a prototype but Noknok.tv got hold of one and posted a video on You Tube about it.
[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIXEv0jWR-8]