The verdict is still out on whether being connected to the world 24/7 via our cell phones is actually a good thing. When you look at the big picture, perhaps it’s safe to say that our culture has a love-hate relationship with mobile technology. “Being out of range” is the general excuse given when we miss calls (rather than admitting that we’re actually screening them), plus we’re inclined to huff audibly when employers and chatty acquaintances decide to see what we’re up to after dark. Despite the fact that small electronic devices are so effective at compromising our “me time,” the vast majority of the population still feels that they’d be lost without their e-ddiction. No need to worry, cell phone companies are listening — perhaps even a little too intently. They recognize that by nature, we’re rather fickle and easily dazzled by new, improved models with even more elaborate bells, whistles and bling that ever before. Remarkably, they continue to up the ante, seducing us into “upgrading,” which is really just code for ditching last year’s model despite it having plenty of additional life in it. This cycle of purchasing and purging continues in perpetuity until 426,000 Americans end up decommissioning their old cell phones on a daily basis (amounting to as many as 130 million disposed cell phones on an annual basis). Clearly, the tide has to turn in favor of a more sustainable mode of consumerism, because our planet cannot burden this perpetual waste cycle. It’s no surprise that in the last several years major cell phone companies have increasingly stepped up to the plate by offering greener portable telephone devices, but how many of us are actually using them? For anyone out there who recognizes that their eco-conscience is nagging them on a somewhat regular basis, please consider exploring the new generation of leaner, greener, yet still perfectly blingy cell phones.
Sony Ericsson J105i Naite (aka “GreenHeart”)
- Considered to be an entry-level 3G eco-phone.
- Significantly smaller-scale packaging and electronic rather than paper manual, both of which have contributed to Sony reducing its overall consumption of paper products for this model by 90%.
- Device is made with a minimum of 50% recycled plastic.
- Energy Star V-compliant phone charger consuming a scant 0.3w/hour minimizes energy use.
- Equipped with two eco-themed applications, including an educational fact center called EcoMate and carbon footprint calculator called GreenCalculator.
Samsung S75550 Blue Earth
- Phone and accessories are RoHS compliant (free of hazardous chemicals such as beryllium, mercury, phthalates, hexavalent chromium and brominated flame retardants).
- Constructed with a type of recycled plastic water bottle called PCM (post-consumer material).
- Entire back of device is fitted with a solar panel, which will create enough juice (when exposed to direct sunlight) to charge the battery.
- Recycled paper packaging, smaller box
- “Eco-mode” enables consumers to ensure that interface/screen brightness is energy efficient.
- Built-in pedometer and “eco walk” application helps consumers determine precisely how much CO2 they can eliminate by walking rather than driving.
Samsung Restore M570
- Manufactured with 77% recyclable materials and an outer casing boasting 27% recycled plastic and 40% corn-based bioplastic.
- Organic exterior packaging
- Streamlined paper manual printed with soy-based ink.
- Device emits very low levels of environmentally detrimental materials such as phthalates, PVC, beryllium and BFRs (compared to traditional cell phones).
- High-efficiency Energy Star 2.0 compliant charger
- Phone has a high recyclability rate due to recycling envelope in box, as well as the fact that it is constructed with renewably sourced/easily reclaimed materials.
Motorola MOTO W233 Renew
- Certified carbon-free cell phone due to the fact that the company purchases carbon credits to offset the energy necessary to “manufacture, distribute and operate” the final product.
- Contains no hazard chemicals (aka RoHS compliant).
- 100% recyclable post-consumer packaging printed with vegetable inks and postage-paid recycling envelope included in box.
- Device is made with post-consumer recycled plastic (water cooler containers), which are responsible for helping Motorola to use 20% less energy during the manufacturing process.
- The cell phone is 100% recyclable.
Sprint LG Remarq LN240
- Compared to traditional devices, this model has very low levels of brominated fire retardants and polyvinyl chloride.
- Made with 19% recycled plastic.
- 87% of the parts in the device are recyclable.
- Exterior packaging made with 80% post-consumer paper content, inner phone tray made with 100% post-consumer paper content.
- Soy ink print on all accompanying information/manuals
- Fully compliant with RoHS standards, very low brominated flame retardant and polyvinyl chloride levels.
- Energy Star certified charger
- Contains eco-themed apps that help the user to determine their vehicle’s fuel efficiency and also measure their carbon footprint.