The modern-day smartphone is the most popular choice among consumers looking for a way to stay connected to the world. However, this popularity is driving increased demand for smartphone supply and negatively affects the environment.
According to Deloitte, smartphones will generate 146 million tons of CO2 in 2022. It is estimated that, after being manufactured, a mobile phone can generate an average of 8kg of emissions from usage during its working life (between 2-5 years).
Sadly, consumers don’t have any decision power on manufacturing of mobile phones, however reducing devices’ energy consumption and extending its lifespan during usage years can help to decrease the CO2 emissions and make sure the device is used sustainably.
Why Does Your Phone’s Energy Consumption Matter?
The importance of power to phones is often overlooked. Without power, you wouldn’t be able to use it for anything. So, electricity is an absolute must for your device.
It is a well-known fact that the battery of a mobile phone drains depending on what you use your phone for, the number of apps and services running in the background. The amount of time that you spend on your phone each day, as well as the apps you use and how much data you have access to, all contribute to your battery usage.
In the UK, the average person spends around 2 hours a day on their smartphone, which is a substantial increase from just 10 years ago. Our smartphones provide us with access to HDR games, 4K content, music streaming, navigation and are constantly connected to the apps we use the most, which burns through the battery’s charge without us even noticing.
This means that our smartphones are using up more and more of our electricity every day. The electricity consumed to fully charge a phone once a day using a 5W charger is 0.035 kWh per week, which is about 1.82 kWh per year. Take into account that there are multiple mobile phones in a household, and this number can quickly grow. The energy consumption of one’s family’s mobile phones can increase even further if fast chargers are used.
While mobile phones are not as power-hungry as tumble dryers or air conditioners, it is crucial to understand that the more you use your phone, the more frequently you will need to charge it which in result will speed up the degradation of your phone’s battery cell and you will start noticing performance drop. That’s why it’s important to rethink your smartphone ownership to ensure you use the device efficiently and for as long as possible.
5 Tips for a Greener Mobile Phone Usage
Changing the way, we use our devices can help to reduce the environmental impact of our technology-infused lifestyles. It’s clear that in order to make a real difference, we need to make sure that our devices aren’t charged as often. The good news is that there are many ways to reduce the need to charge your mobile phones. Here are five tips to follow to have a greener lifestyle with personal electronics:
- Turning off location services will stop your phone from using GPS to pinpoint your current location. Turning on Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or Mobile Data only when you need it, will also stop your phone from actively looking for connection with nearby devices, which can dramatically reduce drain on battery life.
- Apps that are running in the background will continue to consume charge even if you don’t have the app currently open. Make sure that you close the apps after use and run software enabled battery optimisations to put background apps to sleep.
- Using Dark Mode will extend your battery’s life as the display won’t require as much energy to show content. This will also prevent your display from developing signs of discolouration and the screen will last longer.
- In order to keep the battery life of your phone healthy, it is important to enable the smart charging features built into your smartphone.
iPhones, for example, have an Optimised Battery Charging feature. When switched on, your phone will learn your charging habits and it will delay charging past 80% in certain occasions to finish it just before you need it.
Android phones have a similar function under Device Care that does the optimisation for you closing apps that haven’t been executed for a long period of time and limits unnecessary battery drain.
- Assess what type of activities you do the most on your phone. Is it gaming, watching videos, or sending media through WhatsApp? While gaming, you can lower the screen brightness which will help to save the power. Consider reducing the video quality when watching YouTube and perhaps have an occasional smartphone detox.
With these tips, you’ll never have to worry about running out of charge in the middle of your day, and when you get home, you will only need to top up the battery.
It is important to always be mindful of the energy we consume. It is not enough just to unplug our gadgets or appliances when not in use. Taking the above steps to ensure energy-efficient ownership of mobile phones and recycling used phones, will prolong their useful lives and keep valuable materials in use. We need to change our phone usage habits and switch to a more sustainable ownership, so our devices last as long as possible helping us to cut down our overall carbon footprint.
By Lidia Compare and Recycle