Or, how you can be green and save green
"Please standby," our electronics ask of us every time we turn them off.
Standby is the lower-power mode that electronics go into when turned "off," waiting for the next command to cause them to spring to life: the red LED on the stereo, the clock on the microwave, the power block on the cell phone charger--even when it's not connected to a cell phone. The only way to actually have electronics stop drawing power is to unplug them.
According to an article on arstechnica.com, Highly developed countries use about 4% of their electricity to power electronics in standby mode.
Germany, given as an example—and much smaller than the US--requires the production of 14 million tons of carbon dioxide, a central "greenhouse gas," to power all of its electronics in standby mode. This is 1.6 percent of the country's entire carbon dioxide production.
In the grand scheme of things, it might not make a big difference to unplug your 5 devices regularly. But if the majority of people did this, there would be a noticeable dent in emissions without having to sacrifice our quality time on computers and TVs.
If you'd like to know just exactly how much standby power your electronics are drawing, and how much you can save by unplugging these items, learn more in the reviews of P3's P4400 Kill-A-Watts (pictured right). Or, even better, pick up one, which retails for $24.99, and figure out how to save that much green—while being greener—multiple times over.