Regardless of political party affiliation or personal viewpoints surrounding the concept, most are willing to accept that environmental sustainability is a topic that must be discussed in today's world. In the rush to develop environmentally friendly automobiles, houses, and the like, wireless device manufacturers are doing their part to employ sound practices.
This is the first in a series of articles on environmental sustainability that will be published over the next few weeks, where I'll be bringing you written commentary from each of the cellular manufacturers detailing their steps to positively impact the environment. Each company realizes that it has a role to play, and it is my hope that through these individual "one on ones," you'll be able to get a first-hand look at what each manufacturer is doing to move towards that goal.
Today's segment comes from David Conrad, Nokia's head of North American environmental activities. In his role, his responsibilities include creation of environmental sustainability programs for the organization.
Five Green Tips for Mobile Buyers
By David Conrad, head of Nokia's North American environmental activities
For five years now I have led Nokia's efforts in North America to inspire, enlighten, convince and sometimes badger others to respect the environment. The truth is, my calling is more along the lines of ?respecting? ourselves and planning for the future. The world will remain intact regardless so it is about sustaining the environment upon which we depend for future generations. Of course, Nokia is my point of reference, but I attend many industry conferences and speak frequently on the topic, so this should provide you with a good general sweep of today's environmental situation as it pertains to mobile. Additionally, the goal is to enable you to make informed choices in things ranging from materials to energy to recycling.
Here are five environmentally friendly tips that you should consider when purchasing a new mobile device:
Are you still with me? Here is a little more context on the top five list above:
Materials: Ever wonder what materials are used in your device? Any manufacturer should be able to tell you exactly what is in your device. A detailed list of materials we use in Nokia devices can be found here. At Nokia, we ensure that 80% of any device can be recycled and used again. The rest, mainly plastics, can be used to fuel the recycling process. Check the box and ask these questions of your retailer or look online. While we?re on the subject of the box - you will notice that packaging is getting smaller and smaller. Here at Nokia we are implementing reduced packaging around the globe, providing online product guides vs in-box manuals, electronic software downloads vs in-box CD's, etc. Every little bit helps.
Energy: There really are a lot of things to consider here ? battery/power save mode, chargers and reminders to unplug that phone and is it Energy Star rated? Look for a device that has a best-in-class combination of all of these. It's a simple step to just unplug your phone charger ? and it can save maybe $2 per year. Not much right? Now multiply that by the number of household chargers plugged into the wall doing nothing right now and ? multiply that again by the billions (that's right BILLIONS) of mobile devices and now we?re talking about a significant amount of energy. When a charger is plugged in, it is still providing energy to the source ? but it's not actually charging anything. By unplugging we shrink our carbon footprint in the U.S., we use less fuel and we could even prevent unnecessary construction of additional power plants. It really does save a lot of energy. You really ought to start somewhere, and this is an easy one!
Converged devices: This is a fun one! What do you do with your phone ? talk, text, listen to music, take pictures and update your favorite social media site? Or do you talk, take pictures and surf the Internet? Whatever it is, one device is better than many. With today's choice of devices ranging from the basic phone to advanced smartphones, you can choose what the best combination for you is. Your pants pocket, purse and environment will thank you.
Explore the Internet: In the new world of the mobile Web everyone is learning how to access the Internet and take advantage of cool applications. There are now mobile applications (like on Ovi Store by Nokia) that offer consumers a range of possibilities. For example, navigation is a simple application that is available on most smart phones, which allows users to take shorter routes (reducing mileage) to save time, and reduces the amount of paper that consumers would use to print directions. There are also applications like Nokia's Green Explorer which provides tips and advice on eco-friendly travel. It's a cool new app that helps people make more sustainable travel decisions, share information about eco spots (such as green shops, hotels and restaurants). These applications will help not only you ? but the community around you share eco tips and photos, ask questions, add and rank comments and tips for a more enhanced and meaningful travel experience.
Recycle: According to our studies, only 3% of people globally recycle, with lack of awareness being the key obstacle. We have the world's largest voluntary recycling program for mobile devices with 5,000 take back locations in 85 countries and are actively raising consumer awareness of mobile device recycling.
So, when you buy your next device, if you only do one thing, make it number five ? please recycle!
Again, two helpful sites:
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions give me a shout on twitter at @Envirodog - thanks!
(Image courtesy of University of Manitoba)