05/23/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

It Is Easy Being Green

Earth Day is a time to celebrate environmental awareness and progress in environmental initiatives. But as many say, Earth Day is everyday. There are many ways we, collectively and as individuals, can help reduce, reuse, and recycle, promoting green standards in our lives and businesses. And technology is here to help.

With the proliferation of mobile solutions, we have access to a variety of capabilities to reduce our carbon footprint - from telecommuting to virtual conferencing to paperless billing. When you think about it the mobile applications we have come to love and rely upon to keep us on task are helping us stay green, too. Take, for example, GPS and mobile mapping applications, which help us avoid traffic congestion, cut down on added emissions and get us to our destination as fuel efficiently as possible. Or wireless controlled residential electric systems through which we can manage thermostats and other smart grid utilities to maximize efficiency. The great innovators in the wireless sector are constantly coming up with game changing applications for our devices; as mobile users, we have a responsibility to embrace green behavior and reduce e-waste.

According to the federal Environmental Protection Agency, more than 100 million cell phones are discarded annually in the United States and only 10% of these phones get recycled. If all were recycled, enough energy would be saved to power more than 18,500 U.S. homes for one year.

Have a new phone? Remember to unplug your charger from your wall or use a smart power strip with sensors to turn off power supply when the items are not in use. It is estimated that if 10 percent of the world's mobile users unplugged their chargers once the battery was full, we could save enough energy to power 65,000 households for a year.

Seeing that there are 270 million mobile subscribers in the U.S., these small tweaks to our actions can have an enormous impact on our environment.

For more information on how on you can reduce e-waste, visit

Jonathan Spalter, chairman of the Mobile Future coalition, served as chief information officer at the United States Information Agency during the Clinton administration.