The Environmental Cost of Buying New Chargers

  • GaN chargers can save significant energy over their lifetime.
  • Anker’s new GaNPrime magazines are smaller and fresher than ever.
  • Most of a device’s carbon emissions come from building and shipping it to you.

Nubelson Fernandes / Unsplash

Anker keeps rolling out energy-saving chargers, which makes it very tempting to keep upgrading, but maybe you shouldn’t keep buying new gear because it’s “greener”.

Anker’s new GaNPrime chargers are smaller, run at lower temperatures, and can charge more gadgets faster. But before you throw away your old chargers in favor of the newer and better model, think about how much it will really save you and how much it will harm the world.

“[If] the charger you have is still in perfect condition, see if you can find it a new home with a friend, family member or local charity, ”Eric Villines, head of global communications at Anker, told Lifewire.

Energy consumption for life

Anker’s new GaNPrime devices use GaN 3 fast charging technology. GaN is gallium nitride and is replacing silicon in chargers because it allows those chargers to run at lower temperatures, which in turn means these chargers can be smaller. Smaller. It is possible to make a GaN laptop charger that is barely bigger than silicone phone chargers.

“Compared to traditional silicon-based chargers, GaN chargers save energy by reducing the amount of heat loss when charging. This is an unmistakable environmental benefit of using GaN over previous technologies. On average, with our new chargers. GaNPrime, consumers not only reduce the time it takes to charge their devices, but on average they will save 7% energy with each charge, ”says Villines of Anker. And this applies to GaN in general, not just Anker products.


GaN chargers are the ones to choose if you are buying a new charger. They are more expensive but much, much better, and if you carry a small charger everywhere you go, you can forget that you need a backup battery. It saves you money, wastes less energy and means one less battery in the world.

But even if the chargers from Anker, or anyone else, were suddenly 100% efficient, it still wouldn’t be good for the environment to replace the ones you have.

Most of the carbon emissions from your electronic devices come from manufacturing them and putting them in your hands. Apple’s environmental reports bring down the energy costs of its devices over the course of their life. Take the MacBook Air M1, for example. 71% of its life cycle carbon emissions come from manufacturing and 8% from transportation worldwide. Only 19% of its total emissions come from its use. The iPhone 13 is similar overall, but with more energy used in manufacturing and less for transportation.

This means that the longer you use a device, the less carbon impact it will have. Even if your charger is old, hot and inefficient, it might still be better than buying a new one. There are exceptions and limitations to this rule, but in general, using the environment as an excuse to buy another gadget is just plain wrong.

Do not recycle: reuse

Eventually, you’ll need to purchase a replacement for your charger, computer, or whatever. But even then, you should think about how you handle old devices.

If you are honest with yourself, you are probably replacing perfectly good gadgets with new ones, just because you want to. If so, you should pass the old ones to family or friends, or look for a good local organization that can reuse them or pass them on to people who need them.

[If] the charger you have is still in perfect condition, see if you can find it a new home with a friend, family member or local charity.

In the past you didn’t want to pass a computer due to the difficulty of securely wiping the contents of the hard drive. But with modern computers like iPhones and Macs, the data is encrypted, so all you have to do is clear the encryption key and you are safe. This is easy and means you can switch the device without worrying about your personal data.

“To avoid wasting your previous devices, look for organizations that donate or recycle them in a clean and positive way,” Kyle MacDonald, director of operations at vehicle tracking technology company Force by Mojio, which distributes thousands, told Lifewire. of disposable devices via e-mail. “That way, you can continue to use greener technology while reducing your carbon footprint in other ways as well.”

It’s a case where doing nothing is really the best option.

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