You probably never think about it – but have you ever considered how much energy is consumed by a phone charger when it’s plugged in and not in use?
Well, according to page 10 of this report from the Energy Saving Trust, each charger consumes about 1 watt of power even when it isn’t charging anything.
How you interpret the total power consumption of all of those chargers varies widely. Wikipedia’s figures indicate that there are over 70 million handsets in the UK alone.. and if you take the average power consumption per UK household as around 4000 kWh per year, then that’s a potential 153,000 household’s worth of electricity per year being used to charge mobile phones.. that’s a town the size of Swindon.
The Unpluggit Campaign comes up with a rather more modest figure of 33,000 households worth of electricity being wasted. That’s still a fair amount, the size of a small town such as Leighton Buzzard, Dover or Chorley.
Run in conjunction with Ben & Jerry’s Climate Change College (yes, the ice cream folks) and the WWF, the Unpluggit Campaign is an attempt to raise awareness about this issue and it also seeks to collect 10,000 signatures in support of the principle of powering off chargers when not in use. The site has some amusing video clips too, and there’s the chance to win some free ice cream.
Are we guilty at Mobile Gazette – yup.. we found 8 chargers plugged in and doing nothing apart from wasting electricity. This was followed by an argument over whether we preferred Cherry Garcia or Cookie Dough flavours of Ben & Jerry’s. And there’s always one who likes Chunky Monkey to put a spanner in the works.
The Unpluggit Campaign raises a serious issue in a lighthearted way and is a reminder to thing hard about all those things that we leave plugged in when we’re not actually using them.