Editor's Note: This is a guest post by Spencer Hogg of UK site Sim Only.
Whether you have long ago adapted a green lifestyle or are just getting started, you may not realize that there are ways to make your cell phone just as green as everything else in your life.
1. Don't Throw It Away: Some people simply throw their old phones away when they no longer need them; this is a bad idea, as they will take up already limited space in landfills and probably leach toxic chemicals into the soil and water. Instead of dropping it into the nearest trashcan when it has reached the end of its usefulness, consider taking the phone back to where you got it, if possible. A good number of phone companies will actually take back old phones, no matter what the year of their creation. It is worth the effort to see if yours will be accepted.
2. Update Your Service, Not The Phone: You may want to try to keep the mobile phone you have when and if you change service providers. This eliminates the need to recycle or throw away the phone at all, and you can keep them for a much longer period. Although not very attractive to those who aspire to keep up with the latest gadgets and features, keep in mind that you are doing your part to help the planet. Think about the features you do not really need and would probably never use; is it worth the extra cost and environmental impact?
3. Download Some Useful Green Apps: These can range from for saving energy on your phone (like turning of GPS and WiFi when it is not needed). Commute Greener is a great app from Volvo which lets you track your carbon footprint. The Greenbook is an app with lots of great tips for green living and money saving. Seasons is a simple but great app for the iPhone that lets you know which foods are in season so you can buy vegetables that are in season and haven’t be flown in from the other side of the planet.
4. Consider A SIM-only Service Plan: SIM-only plans allow the freedom to choose any provider whilst keeping your old phone. With the range of smart phones available these days, many people do not often want to change their phone, but have to, to get a better deal with another provider. SIM only means you can change provider if you find a better deal elsewhere without having a hefty fee and less environmental waste by keeping the same phone. In many cases you can save a lot of money, which is good for anybody on a budget.
5. Choose a phone that's made from eco-friendly materials. These models are sometimes cheaper than regular cell phones, and include features that help save energy or are made from recycled materials. If you believe that a green phone would have an ugly design and not last for very long, shopping around should prove to you that this is not the case.
Check out the Samsung Blue Earth, hailed as the world's first solar-powered touch screen phone (above); the Samsung Reclaim, which made from recycled plastic, comes in a box that's made from recycled paper, and includes soy-based ink on the user manual; and the LG POP, which is made from hazard-free components, features a beeping alert to indicate a full charge and help to conserve energy, and an optional solar-powered battery cover.