If you are one of the several billions people around the world who want or must use a cell phone, here are some good news: last week, instead of inventing yet another model of cell phone, industry representatives agreed to on something that will both reduce pollution and save you money!

First of all, the dark side of cell phones…

Before telling you some good news, let’s make clear why and how much they are good news. Most cell phone users, of course, never stop to think about their real impact: how could something so little and useful have any side effects… but harassing everybody around besides somebody yelling into his cell phone?

The truth is that cell phones and their accessories are still so inefficient, so many, and so often thrown away without a real reason, that they waste a huge amount of energy and materials. Did you know that one ton of discarded cell phones (about 6000 units) contains about 10000 Euros of silver, gold, copper and other materials, which are also very dangerous if not processed properly? Or that, only in the USA, the chargers of mobile phones and other devices are estimated to waste about 5 billions dollars per year, due to their inefficiency?

…then the good news: a universal phone charger at last!

The missing accessory for your cell phone is coming /img/incompatible-cell-phone-chargers.jpg
And THIS incompatibility by design would be INNOVATION?

Now that you know that every ton of used cell phones is 10000 Euro thrown in the garbage and that we waste billions of dollars each year by believing that we are charging them, here are the good news: the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) just approved an energy-efficient, universal system for phone chargers.

This new Universal Charging Solution (UCS) will have two huge advantages. First, no matter what model of cell phone you’ll have, you’ll be finally able to charge it wherever you’ll be, even if you forgot your own charger at home. In the second place, these new chargers will be much more efficient than those existing today. Besides, since with just a little attention one of these devices per family would be enough, ITU estimates that about 50000 tonnes less of redundant chargers will be produced and thrown away each year!

I want that charger NOW, how can I do?

The UCS chargers will take months or years to become easily available. The best way there is to accelerate their arrival is also good for your wallet: next time somebody tries to sell you a cell phone, tell them that you will only buy UCS-compatible phones. In the meantime, please remember to:

  • unplug the chargers from the wall as soon as your cell phone, laptop, whatever… is fully charged
  • recycle cell phones and chargers in the right way. In the USA, for example, you can participate for free to the “Recycle Your Cell Phone” program, but there are similar programs in many other countries (I’ll post them here as soon as possible)