From a materials perspective, VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) could be construed as more environmentally friendly. The use of cell phones implies production of the phones themselves (requiring energy and various plastics/metals) as well as their eventual disposal by consumers when they trade up for a new model and the construction of cellular networks/towers (which take up land and also require construction materials). There is also the possible effects of cellular radiation, which may or may not have adverse effects on humans/animals. In contrast, VoIP uses a broadband connection instead of a cell signal, and if a consumer was using a computer and microphone, their impact may be less than someone using a cellphone. Computers do take up more energy and materials than phones however, and often contain hazardous compounds and heavy metals. The environmental impact difference would also be negated if a consumer was using VoIP on a 3G etc network on their cell phone, because they would still be using a phone to do so.
Aside from the possibility of using a VoIP over a cell phone, VoIP using a lap top would be quite a bit more energy costly. According to a publication rating the energy consumption of different mobile technologies, a lap top being used for voice messaging uses about 13.5 times more energy than a cell phone being used for voice messaging.
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