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Green Plug is a new company working to alleviate the huge and unnecessary energy demands created by our increasing numbers of gadgets. There's so much wrong with the current model of consumer electronics' power supplies, it's hard to know where to begin. Plugged in, they suck power even if the device itself is off; they're often made of cheap, components that are very inefficient; they wear out and less than 13 percent are recycled—nearly 380 million external power supplies will likely end up in U.S. landfills this year.

To illustrate this madness, Green Plug launched a "What's under your desk?" contest that drew some startling submissions. You can view the "winner" on their site.

All kidding aside, this San Ramon, California-based startup has made some headway in working to remedy this gross inefficiency that's a pointless waste of energy.

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Developers are working with consumer electronics manufacturers to embrace this technology that will allow multiple devices—laptops, mobile phones, PDAs—to draw current from a single, more efficient AC/DC converter, eliminating the need to replace power supplies with every new purchase. The device also shuts down the converters when individual devices are fully charged or idle.

The onus is largely on the manufacturers, though news recently broke that one major appliance manufacturer would be jumping aboard. It's a start.

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