Innovations in sustainable technology have generated a tidal wave of new gadgets that are being produced using more eco-friendly methods or are helping to alleviate an already existing environmental concern.
From a rise in electric vehicles to smart thermostats, Americans are opting to switch to more sustainable alternatives to power their smartphones, computers, and appliances. Today, we are going to explore eco chargers, a more environmentally friendly way to power our favorite tech gadgets on the go.
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What Is an Eco-Charger?
Eco chargers are more environmentally friendly battery chargers where energy is supplied from a renewable resource like solar, kinetic, or wind energy. Eco chargers might also be sourced from eco-friendly materials that take both environmental and social health into account.
What Makes a Charger Eco Friendly?
Whether you’re buying a couch or an eco-charger online, there are several factors to consider, from product production to disposal, to ensure you are truly making an environmentally conscious purchase. Is the company you are buying from environmentally responsible, or are they using false eco-labeling tactics and greenwashing?
First, it is important to take into consideration the source materials and manufacturing standards behind your eco-battery charger. The raw materials that go into sourcing batteries like gold, platinum, cobalt, and other rare earth elements can contribute to significant resource depletion if not properly managed. To add to the problem, in some developing nations where labor laws are not regulated, workers manufacturing these batteries are exposed to poor working conditions - putting their health and wellbeing at risk.
How we choose to dispose of our eco battery chargers and other e-waste can also play a huge role in the overall sustainability rating of that product. E-waste contains hazardous materials including lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium V and brominated flame-retardants, all of which can leach into our groundwater sources and devastate natural biodiversity. So, when possible, donate or recycle your eco battery chargers and other electronics (like that broken iPhone that has been sitting in your junk drawer for the last year).
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry! Looking for transparent companies that bolster third-party certifications logos like EnergyStar and the Certified B Corp Logo is a great place to start. If you need more information and guidance, continue reading for more tips on finding the best eco-friendly charger for you.
Eco Chargers Vs. Conventional Chargers: What Are the Advantages?
Eco-friendly chargers come with a plethora of benefits compared to their conventional charger counterparts.
Pros of eco chargers:
- Switching to an eco-friendly charger can help conserve energy in your home and in turn, save you money on your next utility bill.
- You will be contributing to lessening our global reliance on fossil fuels as an energy source.
- Many eco-friendly chargers consist of compact power banks providing you with the freedom to charge your devices on the go.
While sustainable technology is certainly having its well-deserved moment in the spotlight, new products aren’t always perfect and there might be some downsides you should consider before buying an eco-friendly charger.
Cons of eco chargers:
- Some eco-friendly chargers are not adaptable to different outlets, devices, and/or able to store power.
- Purchasing a new charger contributes to an unsustainable consumer culture mentality. If you already have a charger that works, then that is great! The first step in The Five R’s of Zero Waste is refuse; maybe wait until your current charger needs replacing to purchase an eco-friendly charger.
- While some eco-friendly chargers might rely on renewable energy, they could be manufactured using unsustainable sources such as plastic (and thus, fossil fuels) – and vice versa.
What Do Eco Chargers Do?
How Do Eco Chargers Save Energy?
Did you know that conventional chargers often drain energy when left in a power outlet, even if they aren’t supplying energy to your phone or computer at the time? Eco-friendly chargers offer a solution by sourcing energy from a renewable energy source (like wind, solar, or kinetic energy). Renewable energy sources are replenished naturally and continuously, and therefore, do not have a finite limit of use. This energy can then be stored in battery packs and used when needed.
Are Eco Chargers Worth it?
The short answer is…it depends. Forbes estimated that together, your iPad and laptop only cost you about $10 a year in your energy bill. So, in terms of electricity savings, the benefits might be relatively low. But that doesn’t mean eco-friendly chargers should be tossed out.
When we choose to buy more eco-friendly products, we are telling the companies and manufacturers we purchase from (and the politicians we vote for) that we care about the natural environment. In turn, we can spark a larger systemic change, which will lead to the creation of more sustainable products, policies, and innovation.
Why Do I Need an Eco-Charger?
Beyond simply living a more sustainable lifestyle, there are many other reasons to switch to an eco-friendly charger.
- There is no electric outlet available: Because many eco-friendly chargers are portable, you can take your power source on the go and charge from anywhere.
- The power goes out: We can all relate to the stress of when the power goes out and you receive a low battery notification on your iPhone. Stress no more!
- Living a more active lifestyle: Getting in a workout and charging your phone at the same time sounds like a win-win to me.
- The convenience of a travel-friendly battery charger: Many power banks tend to be small and compact, making it easy to take them anywhere in your pocket or bag.
- Variety in pricing: No matter what your budget might be, there are tons of different eco-friendly charger options.
What Types of Chargers Are Considered Eco-Friendly?
Finding the best eco-friendly battery charger shouldn’t be a source of stress or anxiety. Ultimately, choose an eco-friendly charger that suits your current lifestyle, and one you will want to use long term. Do you bike or walk to work every day? Awesome! An eco-friendly charger powered by kinetic energy could be a great option for you. If a kinetic energy-powered charger isn’t your thing, no problem. Check out these other options below to find the best eco-friendly charger for you.
Hand Crank Chargers
Hand crank chargers are handy to have if you are in a bind and need a quick boost. The Clipray by Eton is a small, inexpensive, and portable eco-friendly charger that is compatible with most smartphones and comes with an LED flashlight.
Kinetic Eco Chargers
The K-tor Power Box 20 Watt Pedal Generator uses energy from your bike pedals to power a 12-volt battery which you can plugin, to power your devices (getting healthy and saving the planet? Yes please!).
Portable Solar Chargers
This solar charger plus power bank is convenient and compact. Best of all, it is compatible with most smartphones.
Lightbulb Eco Chargers
You might have already heard about LED light bulbs being better for the environment (it's true - they last longer and use up to 80% less energy than a standard light bulb). This LED Camping Lantern by EcoSurvivor is a great eco charger option if you like camping or spending time outdoors. Even better, EcoSurvivor donates 50% of all net proceeds to support Water4, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing access to clean, sanitary drinking water in developing nations.
Pace Powered (Foot/Shoe Nanogenerator)
A US-based startup called SolePower lets you charge your devices by walking using their SmartBoots technology. With each step, information like GPS location is being sent to the internet and can help keep workers safe in case of an emergency. Designed specifically for those who need to wear work boots; SmartBoots is more than just a battery charger!
Eco Worthy Solar Chargers
Notebook Solar Panels
Eco-Worthy has some great notebook charger options for those who need a bit more of a power boost (think lawnmower, RV, boat, or jet ski). They come with an alligator clip so you can easily attach the charger to your car, trailer, or tractor.
Solar Powered Phone Battery Packs
This charger and power bank by SunCharge allows you to harvest sunlight and charge two devices at once with dual USB charging. It is water-resistant with a built-in flashlight; and best of all, with an 8,000 mAh capacity, you could charge the average cell phone twice over!
Window Cling Solar Chargers
With a high user rating (and a feature on Shark Tank), this Window Solar Charger can be affixed to any window in your home with a suction cup attachment. The best part of this product is the company’s commitment to repair the product if it is damaged or broken, so no throwing anything away!
Best Eco-Friendly Battery Chargers
The best eco-friendly charger for you is one you will want to use long-term and suits your current lifestyle and budget (my personal favorite is the Combo Gadget Solar and Crank).
If you like to spend time outdoors in the sunshine, I recommend the LED Camping Lantern by EcoSurvivor. If you are looking for a low-budget option, Clipray by Eton is a great pick. But if you are looking to spend a little more on something that will last a long time, try the Window Solar Charger.
Final thoughts on Eco Chargers!
Never be left without the ability to charge your phone or other devices whether on the go or in an emergency with an eco-charger!
I hope you have been inspired to try an eco-charger for the convenience it will add to your daily life, while simultaneously promoting more eco-friendly shopping choices! If you are keen to learn more about making a positive environmental difference, I recommend watching some of these awesome documentaries.
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