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ITU-GeSI report uncovers opportunity to decrease e-waste

External power supply standards to enable truckloads of efficiency gains

Geneva, 18 September 2012 – A new ITU-Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) report reveals that standards for the manufacture of external power supplies (EPS) could enhance their reliability and extend their lifecycle while decreasing their average weight by up to 30 per cent. This could eliminate 300,000 tonnes of e-waste annually, the report estimates. Putting this in context, this amount of waste, equivalent to sixty per cent of current annual EPS e-waste, would form a 300km truck-jam, every year.

In addition, the report highlights that standardizing efficiency characteristics could reduce the energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of EPS by between 25 and 50 per cent.

Finding a large variation in the weights of EPS, the report titled, An Energy-aware Survey on ICT Device Power Supplies, underlines a major opportunity to reduce the weight of chargers across a range of power-supply categories, to increase their reliability and lifecycle and enable their effective reuse. It also highlights marked variations in the energy efficiency of different EPS, with some operating at an efficiency level more than 10 per cent below the mean.

Noting that roughly four billion EPS are produced each year, weighing roughly a million tonnes and resulting in 500,000 tonnes of e-waste, the report points to an urgent need for standards to correct glaring inefficiencies in the EPS production process.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré said, “An economic culture prioritizing energy efficiency and environmental responsibility is the only means through which we will create sustainable models of economic growth. In the ICT sector, international standards present the ideal mechanism to encourage an industry-wide commitment to these essential values.”

Luis Neves, Chairman of GeSI, said, “Every bit of e-waste we avoid or energy efficiency we gain will translate directly into increased future capacity to invest in innovation and progress; funds that would otherwise have been required to retroactively correct mistakes of the past. I expect to see the recommendations of this EPS report quickly reflected by international ICT standards and the practices of equipment manufacturers.”

The study analyzes 300 commercially available EPSs, testing the correlation between chargers’ weight, volume and supplied power. It is authored by Raffaele Bolla, Roberto Bruschi and Luca D’Agostino (Department of Communication, Computer and Systems Science (DIST), University of Genoa) and available from ITU’s website here and GeSI website here.

The survey was commissioned to contribute to GeSI’s growing body of thought leadership on ICT and sustainability as well as to assist in ITU’s Standardization Sector’s (ITU-T) “green” standardization activities. Its findings will provide input to ITU-T Study Group 5’s work on the second phase of Recommendation ITU-T L.1000 on a Universal power adapter and charger solution. See Press release.

ITU’s second annual ‘Green Standards Week’ (GSW), currently being held in Paris, 17-21 September, features e-waste as a key topic for discussion. It aims to stimulate the creation of international ‘green ICT’ standards with a view to advancing the capabilities of ICTs to boost environmental efficiency across all industry sectors.

Journalists wishing to attend should email Toby Johnson at toby.johnson@itu.int. Remote participation is also available via https://join.microsoft.com/meet/t-veroha/Q7ZSLN0Z


Sanjay Acharya

Chief, Media Relations and Public Information, ITU

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mobile +41 79 249 4861
email sanjay.acharya@itu.int 

Alice Valvodova

Executive Director

Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI)

tel +32 2 282 8442
email alice.valvodova@gesi.org 
  Web: www.gesi.org/  
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About ITU...

 About GeSI

The Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) is a strategic partnership of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT)sector and organisations committed to creating and promoting technologies and practices that foster economic, environmental and social sustainability. Formed in 2001, GeSI’s vision is a sustainable world through responsible, ICT-enabled transformation. GeSI fosters global and open cooperation, informs the public of its members’ voluntary actions to improve their sustainability performance, and promotes technologies that foster sustainable development. GeSI has 31 members representing leading companies and associations from the ICT sector. GeSI also partners with two UN organizations - the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) - as well as a range of international stakeholders committed to ICT sustainability objectives. These partnershipshelp shape GeSI’s global vision regarding the evolution of the ICT sector, and how it can best meet the challenges of sustainable development. www.gesi.org 


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