Eco-Friendly Device Chargers a Sustainable Move by Consumer Electronics Industry
Sustainable chargers are yet another solution to save energy, and this year, more electronics companies are offering the environmentally friendly alternatives to power their devices. AT&T is among the latest companies to offer eco-friendly chargers, catering to green-minded consumers.
Standard chargers have had a long reputation for being “energy vampires.” Their standby consumption, when left in power outlets, is an energy drain. To eliminate power waste and to make practicing green for consumers an easier feat, innovative electronics accessories brands offer a variety of chargers that use zero to minimal standby consumption when not in use.
Last month, AT&T announced its line of eco-friendly wall and car chargers, with housings fabricated from “30 percent post-consumer recycled plastic.” Additionally, the chargers are Energy 5-rated and use minimal power when plugged in. The new chargers add to the company’s green brand image; just this summer, AT&T was named the most sustainable U.S. telecommunications company in customer offerings.
The benefits of eco-efficient chargers equate to energy savings and overall efficiency for device users. “If a customer were to leave the wall charger plugged in for a year without use, it would consume only the equivalent of a 100-watt light bulb left on for a day,” AT&T says of its eco-friendly charger.
To add extra appeal to such eco-friendly chargers, companies like Bracketron with its Mushroom GreenZero (pictured), offer mobile charger lines that feature multiple perks: small, travel friendly sizes and “snag-free” designs with a pop of color. Dubbed “innovative chargers,” the appliances are powered by Bracketron’s GreenZero technology, which enables the accessory to detect when a device is fully charged or unplugged and shut off accordingly.
While such features may be enough to convince consumers to consider sustainable chargers, some critics are not convinced. In a Boston Globe article, “Eco-friendly charger is a tough sell,” Hiawatha Bray debates the true benefits of the sustainable accessories, namely, Bracketron’s Mushroom GreenZero mobile device charger, which shuts down unless prompted by a push of a button.
The typical phone uses so little power to begin with that the GreenZero will save you only a couple of dollars a year in electricity costs. Those savings will cover the cost of the GreenZero, in about a decade.
Despite criticism, as mobile device use surges across the globe, and as more consumers have several devices to charge, the energy drain adds up. Last month, Clean Technica reported findings of a study that revealed the UK spends nearly $2 billion/year in electricity for non-active appliances. In the U.S., standby energy also leads to steep spending figures. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, standby power accounts for more than 100 billion kilowatt-hours of annual U.S. electricity consumption and more than $10 billion in annual energy costs.