It seems like nearly every person on Earth has a cell phone, and all those cell phones need to be charged. Each cell phone on average uses .006 kilowatts per hour to charge. Each takes about two hours to charge once per week. This may not seem like much, and it is not, but as with so many other things with the environment, the devil is in the quantity. About 2.7 billion people have cell phones. So, if they all use their cell phones on a weekly basis, and need to charge their cell phones for two hours a week, that amounts to 16,200,000 (16.2 million) kilowatts per hour, or 32,400,000 (32.4 million) kilowatts used on average for a two hour charge by all cell phone subscribers per week. Multiply that by 52 weeks and you get 1,684,800,000 (1.6 billion) kilowatts per hour used by everyone on Earth each year to charge their cell phones.
The big problem here is that only five percent of the power used by the charger is used to charge the cell phone. Roughly 95 percent of the power comes from people leaving their cell phones plugged in longer than they need to. If everyone on Earth only charged their cell phones as long as they needed to, it would save over one billion kilowatt hours per year, enough to power thousands of homes. All it takes is keeping an eye on the charge and unplugging it when it is ready. Some people think that removing their phone from the charger does the trick, but it will still result in electricity going to the charger and being wasted.
As a result, Layla and I will be ensuring that not only will we keep an eye on our cell phone charge, but we will also look at other ways to charge cell phones that do not use the power grid, including connecting it to a solar power panel, of which we will be buying in the future.
Other things we can all do to reduce the energy use of cell phones is to look at solar powered cell phones, which will soon be coming on the market thanks to companies like Konarka Technologies.
You can also make sure your cell phone is clean and free of small bits of debris where the site of the charger plugs in. This will give a cleaner connection and better energy efficiency.
You can also conserve the energy on the cell phone by turning off the illumination during the day, sounds, vibrations and more. The less you use the cell phone, the longer the charge will last and the less energy you will take from the grid.