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Green product watch: A "sustainable" cell phone

Now you can add cell phones to the list of products being marketed as “green.” The January 2010 issue of Consumer Reports has a review of Motorola’s W233 Renew pre-paid cell phone (T-Mobile). The phone was introduced earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show as the world’s first “green” phone.

Among the green claims Motorola makes about the Renew cell phone:

• 100 percent recyclable: Not only does the company claim the cell phone’s plastic case can be recycled, but that the case itself is made from recycled water bottles.

• Long talk time: The cell phone is supposed to cut down on energy needed for recharging with its talk time of up to 9 hours. (Our experts say it delivers 8.)

• Carbon-neutrality: The company claims the cell phone is “carbon neutral,” meaning Motorola offsets the carbon dioxide required to manufacture, distribute and operate the phone. It does so by investing in renewable energy sources and reforestation through an alliance with Carbonfund.org, which we haven't specifically evaluated. Carbon-offset claims can vary in meaning and there are no minimum federal guidelines on how carbon reductions are calculated.

Performance-wise, the Renew pre-paid cell phone is simple and lightweight with good voice quality, according to our electronics’ experts. They also say the phone's ample 8 hours of talk time is better than most T-Mobile phones tested. But its MP3 player is basic and its display is small. The phone is priced at $30 at Best Buy.


Carbon copy: Questionable carbon claims 9/08
Buyer Beware: Behind carbon offsets 3/08
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