It may seem like an innocuous bit of kit, but the average phone charger is actually about as green as a postbox. People tend to leave them plugged in and switched on even when the mobile phone is lying idle there and fully charged up. In fact, the average charger in the UK fulfils its role for only 5% of the time - 95% of the energy it processes goes to waste. The Energy Saving Trust reckons this is costing us £47 million a year, wasting enough energy to power 115,000 homes for 12 months, and creating 250,000 tonnes of unnecessary carbon emissions.
If everyone just let their charger cool off when its work was done it could have a massive effect. Mobile companies are aware of the problem. Nokia's phones now come with a standard message on their display, reminding owners (if they are around) to unplug after charge-up. But if that fails to nudge you into greener habits, there are other options: 1, Buy a solar-powered charger; 2, Get a job at Ryanair, which in 2005 banned employees from charging their phones at work to save costs; or 3, Follow the example of one enterprising Somerset teenager and rig your charger to a hamster wheel, getting 30 minutes of talk time for every two minutes of hamstercise. But it's less hassle just to unplug the wretched thing.
One - it's so easy, you've got no excuses.